India – Gujarat Godhra Violence 2002

January 11, 2022

India – Gujarat Godhra Violence 2002

Padmini Arhant

When authoritarian regimes maintain extremism and hard line policy demonstrated in crackdown of any challenges to status quo, they invite upon them imminent termination of their rule besides taking down the nation they represent as the authority. 

What happened in 2002 ?

The fateful days of Godhra violence aka pogrom considering the massacre of innocent population with majority muslims and many Gujarati Hindus were wiped out by state government i.e. then Chief Minister and Home Minister run government in 2002 sponsored violence against the people of Gujarat as muslims and Hindus with no mercy. 

The victims are not limited to those targeted in violence. The members of the civil service and others present in the then Gujarat State administration  meeting held by then Chief minister and Home minister leading to massive bloodshed in communal violence were not spared either.

The evidences on state killings of own members as eye witness accounts of the contentious meeting involving authorization of communal riots resulting in blood river in international view is a sad day for a nation and society declared a democracy. 

The aftermath of  Godhra violence in the treatment of civil service men, police and others forced and coerced to cooperate with the state authority and their narrative of the incident is even more ghastly and gruesome.

The Godhra violence in 2002 in modern times is a chapter in dark history of Indian state politics. 

The question now arise on the fate of the brave Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt from Gujarat. 

Sanjiv Bhatt is not a muslim but a Hindu and a native of Gujarat, though the lives of all citizens regardless of race, religion and socio economic background are equally important and should matter for a nation and society poised as the world’s largest democracy. 

Nonetheless, Sanjiv Bhatt and his family like many others were punished with some murdered by the state and their hired agents in the state decision to eliminate eye witnesses as attendees in the state administration meeting the night before the violence in 2002.

These innocent men and women other than the victims from violence were subject to state determined authoritarian rule of law denying them any justice or fair opportunity to prove their innocence.

Sanjiv Bhatt, the IPS officer of Gujarat was victimized for being the whistle blower and daring to speak the truth against the violent state authority of Gujarat, 

“Sanjiv Bhatt is a former Indian Police Service officer of the Gujarat-cadre. He is known for his role in filing an affidavit in the Supreme Court of India against the then Chief Minister of the Government of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, concerning Modi’s alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots.“

What happened to Sanjiv Bhatt and his family, again Hindu Gujaratis for fulfilling the oath to serve the people of Gujarat without bias and prejudice following the spine chilling Godhra violence?

Sanjiv Bhatt has been sentenced to life imprisonment as expected in any authoritarian dictatorial regime directed and conducted trial.

Sanjiv Bhatt and his family’s brutal experience ranging from harassment, removal from civil service under false allegations are merely the tip of the iceberg.

Again the IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt was isolated and convicted with unsubstantiated charges beginning with murder, drugs and state manufactured accusations.

The falsely accused Sanjiv Bhatt sentenced to life for his commitment to civil service and declining authoritarian demands to comply with the murderous regime responsible for the massacre of thousands of lives such as muslims and Hindus – i.e. the citizens of Gujarat and India.

Sanjiv Bhatt life imprisonment is a travesty of justice in Indian judiciary process. Anyone deprived of fair legal proceedings barring government interventions and influence deemed guilty is a direct verdict on the judicial system in acquiescence to state order. 

The society evading social, ethical and moral consciousness is prominent in these situations.

The authoritarian impact begins selectively and ends collectively is incontrovertible truth with history testament to the fact.

Padmini Arhant

Author & Presenter


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