Victims of 2002 Gujarat riots, as many as 10 different activists’ groups and NGOs have GOT together to express the solidarity for 1988 batch IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt after his arrest terming it as unconstitutional. A protest was held near Sardarbaugh at Laldarwaja area here on Monday. Bhatt’s arrest had sparked several other such programmes in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai. Congress party too came out openly in his support.
Bhatt, after his affidavit in the Supreme Court, is believed to be one of the key witnesses in the post-Godhra riot case. He implicated Modi in the post Godhra riots and also came out openly against him for Haren Pandya’s murder.
The activists got united and declared the Modi government as unconstitutional. “If you don’t agree to act as per Modi’s instruction you will be punished like Sanjiv Bhatt has been punished,” a Dalit activist, Raju Solanki said. Anti-Modi slogans did rounds outside Bhatt’s residence.
Activist, father Cedric Prakash addressed the crowd and said that the police manhandled Bhatt like a hardcore criminal and his house was raided twice. “This kind of treatment should not be tolerated,” he said.
A group of intellectuals on Monday took out a protest march in Patna against Bhatt’s arrest by the Gujarat police recently. Led by eminent educationist Apoorvanand, the intellectuals took out a protest march and shouted slogans against Modi for seeking to ‘stifle the voice of those people who have questioned his role in the 2002 riots’. Addressing the protesters, Apoorvanand said that Bhatt’s arrest was a glaring instance of ‘misuse’ of political power by Modi to silence his perceived adversaries.
In Bangalore, people came out on the streets to express solidarity for Bhatt. Mallika Sarabhai, who also participated in the protests, said, “We are raising our voice against injustice.” Meanwhile, Congress spoke out in Bhatt’s defence, calling him a victim of vendetta politics.
In Delhi director-cum-activist Mahesh Bhatt along with former director general of police, Gujarat, SB Sreekumar and other members of civil society tried their bit to “expose” Modi.
The civil society members claim that Bhatt is a key witness in SC and his arrest by Modi amounts to tampering with evidence and direct intimidation of key witnesses. Bhatt is believed to have been arrested under IPC sections 183, 189, 193, 195, 341. An additional section 194 has been added which related to fabricating evidence and carries imprisonment for life.
Sreekumar had last month in an open letter to Modi criticised the chief minister for harassing those honest officers who stood by their duty’s call and refused to tow his line.
The central leadership in BJP, which has been demanding an effective measure of protecting the whiste blowers ever since its former MPs were arrested in cash-for-vote scam, was silent when questioned about Bhatt, also claimed to be a whistleblower. Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi said that Bhatt’s arrest was more related to indiscipline.
The BJP leaders have been working hard on media to convince them that Bhatt was working in tandem with the Congress to overthrow the Modi government in Gujarat.
Bhatt was arrested by the city police for allegedly forcing his subordinate KD Panth to sign and submit to the amicus curie appointed by Supreme Court in the 2002 riots cases.