Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Ugly Truth Action Against Gujarat Cops Won’t Help BJP’s Credibility

Times of India

Behind the burnished image of Gujarat's industrial growth and improved infrastructure, there lies a canker. It's a culture of vendetta and retribution promoted by the Gujarat government, whose recent actions against whistle blowing cops prove this spirit is still very much alive. The Narendra Modi government has done itself no favours by coming down hard on IPS officers Sanjiv Bhatt and Rahul Sharma. Bhatt, who had accused the authorities – including the office of the chief minister – of using the state machinery against Muslims during the 2002 Gujarat riots, was suspended last week. Sharma, who had furnished phone call records to the Nanavati commission and the Special Investigation Team alleging collusion between BJP leaders and the police during the riots, was chargesheeted for indiscipline.

That the two officers should earn the ire of the state government for not toeing the official line on the riots is despicable. Law and order is indeed a state subject. But the Gujarat government appears to believe that police must be completely subservient to their political masters. Failing to insulate the police from political interference is the main reason why the Gujarat riots happened in the first place. Bhatt's and Sharma's allegations against the Modi government – which include destroying evidence – cannot be taken lightly. It's also unbecoming of the BJP to threaten the UPA at the Centre of a tough time in Parliament should the latter intervene on the part of the whistleblowing police officers. Taken together, the BJP not only stands guilty of obstructing justice but also holding Parliament to ransom. Such conduct is a serious blow to BJP's credibility as a modern right-of-centre party that has overcome its antediluvian phantoms.


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