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Rediff.com  » News » Why was Gulbarg massacre not prevented? asks Nanavati

Why was Gulbarg massacre not prevented? asks Nanavati

July 28, 2004 17:10 IST

A senior Gujarat Police official on Wednesday failed to give any specific reason as to why policemen posted outside the Gulbarg Society in Meghaninagar area failed to prevent a massacre in February, 2002 during the post-Godhra riots.

M K Tandon, the then Joint Commissioner of Police, Ahmedabad City, told Justice (retd) G T Nanavati and Justice (retd) K G Shah riot inquiry commission, that the mob turned violent after there was some "private firing" from inside the Gulbarg society.

Forty residents of the society, including former Congress Member of Parliament Ehsaan Jafri, were killed in the massacre.

Tandon, who was being cross-examined by advocate Mukul Sinha of Jan Sangharsh Manch, said the mob then broke the wall of the society, barged in and torched the houses.

Denying that police were inactive, Tandon said officials present there had opened fire to disperse the rioting mob even as he failed to give any specific reason why the massacre could not be prevented.

Tandon, who is at present Range IG (Surat), admitted that the communal situation in the city after Godhra train carnage was "unprecedented" and agreed that then city police commissioner had not called any specific meeting to detail steps to counter the situation.

He, however, said police commissioner was in constant contact over wireless with officials and that they had met occasionally to assess the situation.

Tandon was in-charge of sector II of the city where the Naroda Patiya massacre that claimed 80 lives took place, besides the Gulbarg Society tragedy.

When asked if police were inactive despite being positioned at the Gulbarg Society, Tandon replied in the
negative and said even police was not spared by the mob when they tried to rescue the residents.

Denying that he had received any phone calls from Ehsaan Jafri, who was torched alive, Tandon, however, said he did get a message from the Police Control Room saying the former Congress MP wanted to be shifted to a "safer" place.

On being asked as to why he did not visit the Gulbarg Society inspite of getting the message, Tandon said he was on his way to highly sensitive Dariapur area and as such he sent two DySPs and a company of CISF for protection of the residents there.

When Sinha asked him whether he or the then police commissioner were present when either of the massacres
occured, Tandon said 'no'.

Asked what were the apprehensions of police after the Godhra incident, Tandon said one was the possibility of the karsevaks being attacked and the other reprisal attack on the Muslim community.

He added that these apprehensions stemmed from the information from the Police Control Room that the karsevaks were also attacked near Vadodara and Anand when the ill-fated Sabarmati Express proceeded for Ahmedabad after the incident.

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