Hyderabad: There is a deafening silence from Indian Police Service officers, with not as much as a tweet in support of jailed and dismissed IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt.
A session’s court in Gujarat last Thursday sentenced Sanjiv Bhatt to life imprisonment in a custodial death case that dates back to 1990, when he was the additional superintendent of police in Jamnagar district.
A serving IPS officer who didn’t want to be identified told Deccan Chronicle, “A few officers have taken note of the bank account details of (his wife) Ms Shweta Bhatt to extend financial help to her. An email seeking support has been sent to a large chunk of IPS officers, but very few have come forward. The same group of officers has sent an official email to the Indian IPS association to take a stand. However, there has not been a reply either differing or agreeing... there is a stony silence.”
Why this case is different from other allegations of custodial deaths and has got zilch support from the IPS is because the jailed officer in 2011 had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court against the role of then Gujarat chief minister and current Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 massacre in Gujarat, and alleging complicity of the state government in the riots.
He was dismissed from service and became a controversial figure overnight. His troubles did not stop there. In 2015, the home ministry terminated his services citing “unauthorised absence” from service.
Another serving officer said, “The IPS association is very reluctant in this case. There has not been a single tweet in support (of the judgment) either. Out of my own experience, I am aware that the association never backs officers who have booked the well connected, politicians, or members of a certain community, while the fraternity came out in support of an officer in Madhya Pradesh who was trapped in a corruption bid. Another is the fear of the present government that is binding their hands. It is a fact that the NDA government curbed certain training opportunities including foreign education. No one wants to rub the government on the wrong side.”
This time Sanjiv Bhatt’s spouse writes to ‘silent spectators’
The wife of IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment by a Jamnagar sessions court last Thursday in a 29-year-old case, has once again written an open letter, this time to the IPS fraternity, asking them if they were ‘silent spectators’. She called the current scenario a ‘dark phase for India’ and urged the officers to fight, saying that they could be the next.
Ms Bhatt wrote: “The sessions court sentenced Sanjiv to life imprisonment for a crime he did not commit. To all of you (IPS) who have stood by Sanjiv as his pillar of support — your words of support are comforting and encouraging, but words without action will amount to nothing. Your support will mean nothing if you let such travesty of justice happen to a man who has done nothing but serve his country and his people diligently.”
Ms Bhatt called the complaint filed against her husband “a classic case of political vindictiveness”.
The letter addressed to the Indian IPS association said: “One of your very own has been vindictively persecuted for being a true IPS officer. You didn’t stand by him, you didn’t protect him, he keeps fighting his battle against this vindictive government, the question is till what end are you prepared to remain as silent spectators? We shall continue fighting till our last breath, the only thing remaining to see is whether we will be fighting a lone fight or will the people of this sovereign democracy fight for a man who never stopped fighting for them. India, it’s time to wake up. Today it is us, tomorrow it can be you.’
Sanjiv Bhatt’s sentencing has been controversial because of the stand he took in 2011, accusing the Gujarat state government of complicity in the 2002 massacre in the state. He was arrested by the CBI in September 2018 in a drugs case....