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Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Indian Americans Condemn Gujarat IPS Officer's Arrest


From Ummid
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with 10 chapters across the nation dedicated to safeguarding India's pluralist and tolerant ethos, has expressed grave concern over the discriminatory and vindictive agenda being pursued by the Gujarat State government that is reflected in the arrest of whistleblower police officer Sanjiv Bhatt.

In a press statement IAMC president Saheen Khateeb recalled that Bhatt had earlier courted the Modi administration's disapproval by disclosing his presence at the meeting where Chief Minister Narendra Modi directed law enforcement officers to "allow the Hindus to vent their ire on the Muslims."

"Although Modi's complicity in the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom has been documented by several independent human rights groups, this was the first time a state functionary had come forward with direct evidence of Modi's involvement in the pogroms of 2002 that resulted in the massacre and displacement of thousands of Muslims", he added.

Last month, Bhatt had handed over, about 600 pages of documents to the Central Bureau of Investigation which could incriminate several politicians, police officers and bureaucrats for their active connivance in engineering the riots of 2002, whose countless victims are still struggling for justice.

On September 27, 2011, Bhatt filed an affidavit in the Gujarat High Court, alleging that Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the former Minister of State for Home, Amit Shah had repeatedly sought to pressurize him to withdraw his report and destroy the evidence he had placed on record regarding the murder of former minister Haren Pandya.

"Failing to persuade me either to withdraw my report or destroy the very important documentary evidences regarding the role of certain highly placed State functionaries/politicians and senior police officers in the killing of Haren Pandya, I was removed from the post of Superintendent of Police in-charge of the Sabarmati central jail and was kept without a posting for over two-and-a-half months," Bhatt said in the affidavit.

"Against this backdrop, Sanjiv Bhatt's arrest by the Gujarat state government and the harassment of his family by repeated raids on his home, amounts to a witch-hunt that raises dubious questions about the government's motives", IAMC president said in the statement.

"The government's alacrity in arresting Bhatt, stands in stark contrast to its criminal inaction against police officers who have been charged with complicity in the riots," he said.

"It is equally remarkable that barely any arrests or convictions have happened in over 2000 cases filed by the victims of the 2002 massacres," added Mr. Khateeb.

While reiterating its commitment to the rule of law, IAMC has urged the Gujarat government to eschew the sectarian agenda that have marked Modi's 10 years as Chief Minister.

"It is the Gujarat government's dismal record in upholding the rule of law, that should serve as a context in which Bhatt's arrest is clearly part of a pattern of vendetta against whistleblowers and human rights activists", Khateeb said in the statement.

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