Thursday, June 2, 2011

What did Modi tell Chakravarthi? (29.5.2002)

29MAY2011 TOI
What did Modi tell Chakravarthi?

AHMEDABAD: A story has been doing the rounds in Ahmedabad ever since the riots broke out. It's about a meeting that purportedly took place late in the evening on February 27 at which Narendra Modi is said to have told the police to not take action against VHP activists who had called for a bandh the next day.
Action was not to be taken, whatever might be the provocation. The director general of police, K Chakravarthi, is said to have protested at such instructions, but he was shut up by the chief minister. So goes the story.
Since none of the dramatis personae who were said to have been in the meeting confirmed on the record that such a thing happened, this newspaper did not run the story.
But now - after three months - a news magazine has gone ahead and run an article which is on the lines of the story doing the rounds.
The article is based on the testimony that a minister is said to have given to the Concerned Citizen's Tribunal headed by former Supreme Court judge, Justice Krishna Iyer. The tribunal held its hearings last fortnight in the city.

If the story is true, then the charges are very serious; especially what happened in the aftermath of the meeting.
It would mean that the democratically elected head of a state government actually promoted the lawlessness from February 28 by directing his police chief to keep his forces under leash.
It would imply that Modi is himself responsible for the chain of events after Godhra, that have left over 900 dead, scores injured and led to loss of crores worth of property and business opportunities.
If the story is wrong then it is, to put it very mildly, nothing short of character assassination of Narendra Modi, accusing him of killings that he did not order. This is a very grave charge and if made without basis should not be allowed to pass.
The citizens of Gujarat have the right to know the answers to these questions:
• Was such a meeting to discuss the possible fall out on law and order of the bandh held on February 27? Did Narendra Modi chair the meeting?
• Who else were present at the meeting? Were there any other ministers and political persons? Who were the police officials present and who were the civil officers attending?
• What was the exact discussion that took place? Did Modi, at any point, actually ask the police to restrain themselves? How long did the meeting go on? What were the specific instructions for maintaining law and order and deployment of forces?
• What was the reaction of the police officials and what did the civil service officers say?
As per the testimony to the citizen's tribunal, the others present at the meeting were Ahmedabad's then police commissioner P C Pande, additional chief secretary (home) Ashok Narayan, home secretary K Nityanandan, additional director general of police G C Raigar and chief secretary G Subba Rao.
Also present at the meeting were the CM's secretaries, P K Misra, Anil Mukim and A K Sharma.
G Subba Rao could not have been present at the meeting since he had gone abroad.
The Times of India, in the interest of truth and transparency, requests these officials and also Narendra Modi to share, through these columns, what transpired at that crucial meeting.


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