Just as during the festival of Holi, people take a lot of liberties with each other saying “Bura na maano, Holi hai” (please don’t mind, this is Holi), so also the new mantra of the Congress party is to respond to charges of heinous corruption, murders, mayhem, rapes and instigating riots is: “Bura na mano, we are Secular”. However, the pranks people play on Holi are relatively innocent and the play is with colours. But the Congress is playing a very divisive and bloody game which has life and death consequences for India and its people.

The mask of “secularism” is what allows numerous Kamal Naths to continue to reign supreme in the Congress Party despite their involvement in the 1984 massacre of Sikhs; this is how Congress Party can overlook thousands of communal and caste riots under  its regimes; this is how Lalu Yadav and Mayawati as valued partners of UPA brazen out corruption cases against them; this is how a goonda infested party headed by Mulayam Singh Yadav, charged with massive scams retains the badge of honour reserved for “secular” allies of Congress party; this is how Abhishek Manu Singhvi returns as Congress party’s official spokesman despite the most revolting evidence of him demanding sexual favours from a woman lawyer aspiring to be a Judge of the Delhi High Court; this is how the Party can justify its alliance with Muslim League in Kerala; this is how Sonia Gandhi and her relatives get away with using the state machinery to protect them from countless charges of corruption and crime; this is how  Omar Abdullah keeps getting good character certificates from the Congress High Command despite having been personally  implicated in humungous corruption, large scale human rights abuses and killings under his regime, including  alleged murder of a senior party colleague. The list of all sins, all crimes justified/forgiven to the Congress Party and its allies because of the mask of secularism are endless.

A good illustration of this mind set is the sudden propping up of IPS Officer Sanjiv Bhatt as one of the prime stars of anti Modi Brigade in 2009


R.K Raghavan

On 23rd  March 2008, in response to a petition filed by Ehsan Jafri’s widow, Zakia Jafri along with Teesta Setalvad, alleging criminal conspiracy by Narendra Modi’s government, a “deliberate and intentional failure” to protect life and property, and failure to fulfill their constitutional duty, the Supreme Court appointed a Special Investigation Team (SIT), headed by former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief R K Raghavan, to “inquire and investigate” cases relating to the various incidents connected with 2002 riots. In 2009, the Court directed the SIT to investigate the actions of Modi and 62 other people named in Jafri’s petition. (I will write about this petition later).  It is at this point that Bhatt was brought in as a prime witness against Modi.

Sanjiv Bhatt made three allegations against Modi in 2009. The Special Investigative Team appointed and monitored by the Supreme Court of India dismissed each one of those allegations to be false and motivated. After prolonged and thorough inquiries among several other reasons cited by the SIT to dismiss Bhatt’s charges, they noted:

  • Sanjiv Bhatt has not been able to give any satisfactory explanation why he did not file an affidavit before Nanavati Commission and also did not appear as a witness in response to the Govt. circular before any legal authority when he was in possession of plethora of information and was an eyewitness to some of the important events.  He fails to explain why he did not respond to a public notice issued by SIT on 11-04-2008. His silence for a period of more than nine years without any proper explanation appears to be callous and gives an impression that he is trying to manipulate things to his personal advantage to settle his service matters.” (SIT report page no.35-36)

  • On being questioned, as to why did he not appear as a witness in response to a public notice issued by SIT on 11-03-2008, he claimed that he did not disclose the same to anyone, as it would not have been appropriate on his part to divulge any information that he was privy to as an Intelligence Officer unless he was under a legal obligation to do so. 

  • He also stated that he did not file any affidavit or appeared before any commission or body enquiring into the communal riots of 2002, because he was not asked by the Govt. of Gujarat, DGP or Addl. DG (Int.) to do so. However, he denied knowledge as to whether the so called instructions given by the Chief Minister were passed on to the field units by any of the officers, who had attended the meeting on 27-02-2002. [He needs to explain who put him under “legal obligation” to make common cause with anti Modi NGOs and Congress party to personally target Modi after 9 years of silence].

Instead of succeeding in getting Modi implicated, Sanjiv Bhatt ended up being seriously indicted by the SIT for his mischief.  SIT also took note of criminal cases against Bhatt which are incidentally all from pre-Modi days. They include charges of recruitment scam under his charge as SP Banaskanta, abduction, killings and planting narcotics with a view to blackmail. The SIT report not only lists his past criminal record and dubious credentials but also concludes after investigating his charges that Bhatt lied and brought in tutored witnesses to implicate Modi. Gujarat Vigilance Commission recommended twice on 15-07-2002 and 19-10-2006 that Sanjiv Bhatt should be placed under suspension for his professional misconducts, but Bhatt managed to get stay orders from the court each time. SIT concludes: “…it can be inferred that Sanjiv Bhatt is facing a lot of problems in service matters and has got an axe to grind against the Govt. of Gujarat and, therefore, his evidence is ill motivated and cannot be relied upon.”

But since the media either ignored the SIT report or joined Teesta Setalvad in attacking SIT and continued repeating the same old hackneyed charges against Modi even after he was cleared by the SIT report, Bhatt continued being treated as a hero who had taken on the “Hitlerian tyrant” Modi.


Congress rewarded Sanjiv Bhatt’s wife Shweta Bhatt with a Congress ticket to fight the 2012 election against Narendra Modi. Shweta Bhatt’s campaign was run by a colourful coalition that included Shabnam Hashmi’s Anhad, Teesta Setalvad’s CJP, Togadia’s VHP, Vinay Katyar’s Bajrang Dal and elements of the RSS!


Glimpse into Bhatt’s Past History


A batch mate of Sanjiv Bhatt who has known him from the days of their training at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy in Mussoorie told me that from the very start he had acquired such a notorious reputation that no self-respecting trainees wanted to engage with him. Even after he joined the service, he was shunned by the honest among officers because of his dirty deals and high handed behaviour.


This is what former Additional Director General Police; AI Syedwho was his direct boss for some time and wrote his first “Annual Confidential Report” (ACR) had to say about him:


“When I was Superintendent of Police in Mehsana, Sanjiv Bhatt was my supernumerary. I wrote his first ACR in which I said: ‘He acts first and thinks later’. He really needed to be kept under control. Before he left Mehsana I told some officers, his actions are so wild he will be in jail someday. That was my prediction in 1990. He would open fire over petty things. For example, at one time he fired at a group of youngsters simply because they were gambling. At the time of 2002 riots, he was nowhere on the scene. He had so many cases and complaints against him including charges of abduction, extortion and unprovoked firing that he was not getting a promotion. The Vigilance Commission had recommended his suspension. But DG Pandey took pity on him. He corrected his ACRs and promoted him as DIG. He was sent as a training officer near SRP, Junagarh. But Bhatt wanted to be posted in Ahmedabad. So he decided to create a ruckus. He is known for using blackmail any time he is in trouble or denied a promotion. Had he been posted in Ahmedabad, he would have not filed false cases against Modi and his officers. He is a sirfira (crackpot) type. A man who is callous with his own parents is not going to be loyal to anyone else. I know him inside out(rag- rag jaanta hoon main iski). When his father was lying critically ill in hospital, he never went to see him once.


When Sanjiv Bhatt was posted as SP, Rajpipla in Narmada district, the prince of Rajpipla invited him to stay for free in a part of his Palace. Even after her got transferred out of Rajpipla, he refused to vacate the palace. What is worse he had started an affair with the wife of his benefactor. That was another reason for his refusal to vacate the Palace. He is essentially a namak haram– never true to the salt of his benefactors. The DG Police as well as Congress leader Ahmed Patel had to intervene to get him to vacate the palace.


This is the kind of life he has lived and now he pretends to be the new Mahatma Gandhi. This is all dirty politics. They are not going to get honest officers to make false complaints. Only compromised people will do so. The reason is they have their share in everything. They have gobbled up enormous loads of money in the name of helping riot victims. For that they need to keep the Muslim community in a state of siege.”


A senior official told me: “Sanjiv Bhatt was always given inconsequential postings to minimise his nuisance value and harmful tendencies.” Another senior bureaucrat said:


“Bhatt has a long track record of blackmailing not just people under his charge but also his fellow officers and bosses. Every time he gets into trouble, he resorts to blackmail. In all his postings, he committed plenty of high handed acts. Most people are terrified of filing cases against police officers because they have the power and clout to ruin your life.  But three serious criminal cases filed against him reached the courts. But Bhatt is a past master in getting stay orders in cases against him. That is why action could not be taken against him; despite a very unsavoury track record and even after the Vigilance Commission ordered his suspension. Since Bhatt is a Gujarati and there are very few Gujarati’s in bureaucracy, Bhatt is able to play on Gujarati connections to escape punishment. This time round Supreme Court came to his rescue by giving a stay order on Bhatt’s trial.”


I provide relevant sections of the SIT report indicting Bhatt for his pre-2002 misdemeanours that resulted in criminal cases against him as well as his testimony against Modi. Sections marked in blue are my comments. The rest of the paras are staright from SIT report with minor editorial changes in the interest of brevity.



Street Vendors (Livelihood) Protection Authority

Plan of Action Submitted to MCD Special Committee for Reforming Vendor Policy


Street vendors in India provide a vital link between the producer and the consumer, connecting the two in highly innovative, cost efficient ways– keeping in view regional specificities as well as varied requirements of people during different seasons, festivals as well as time of the day or night. As per the National Policy for Street Vendors, nearly 2.5% of urban population is involved in street vending and hawking. This means this occupation provides livelihood to nearly one crore persons in India. With an average of four dependents per vendor, the survival of five crore people is dependent on street trading. Calculated at an average daily turnover of Rs 1100 per day per vendor, the total turnover of one crore street vendors in India would be a whopping Rs 1100 crores per day.

Read more of this post

Public Interest Litigation

One Step Forward, Two Steps Backwards


With the introduction of the concept of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the late 1970s direct access for citizens was provided to the High Courts as well as the Supreme Court. Progressive judges such as Justice P.N.Bhagwati began to actively encourage social and political activists to bring instances of injustice to exploited groups and vulnerable individuals directly to the notice of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court had even ruled that letters to it could be treated as petitions. Poor prisoners, inmates of Nariniketans, marginalised tribals, bonded labourers and similar groups whose voices had never reached the citadels of power began to get a hearing in the highest court in the land through social workers and political activists who brought their cases from remote regions to the country’s apex court. For a brief period it appeared that one didn’t need to hire expensive lawyers or follow long cumbersome procedures to get the voice of the poor heard in the Supreme Court. A few sympathetic judges even made allowances for the activists who tried to plead the cases directly without the mediation of lawyers. However, what was most encouraging was that there was no difficulty in getting some of the best lawyers to take on these cases gratis or for only a nominal fee.

Read more of this post

MODINAMA 1: Narendra Modi through the Eyes of Gujarati Muslims, Christians and…

853074278ModiWhen some pockets of Gujarat were convulsed by violent riots in February 2002, I too accepted the version presented by the national media as well as our activist friends and assumed that Modi was complicit in the Gujarat riots of 2002. Therefore, I too signed statements against Modi, published articles sent to Manushi indicting Gujarat government. We also raised funds for riot victims. However, I refrained from writing anything under my name because I did not get the time to visit Gujarat and experience and assess the situation first hand. My earlier experience of covering various riots as well as conflict situations in Kashmir and Punjab had taught me that media reports cannot be trusted enough to take a definitive stand on such issues since they are often coloured by the ideological prism used by the writer. Therefore, I refrained from making statements on Gujarat.

Having spent a lot of time covering major riots—including the 1984 massacre of Sikhs, series of riots in Meerut, Malliana in the 1980’s, Bombay 1993, Jammu 1989 and having closely studied several others like Biharsharif, Bhiwandi, Jamshedpur, and series of riots in Ahmedabad, Surat, etc, I knew that barring Delhi 1984 all others were jointly orchestrated by the BJP and Congress. Even in the communal polarisation due to Babri Masjid demolition the Congress Party had been an equal partner in crime with the BJP.

Read more of this post

Imperious Authoritarianism in the Garb of Modernity


It has become all too common for T.V. anchors to demand that an M.P. or minister who makes a frivolous or politically offensive statement should be forthwith forced to resign by his party or that a spiritual guru who holds antiquated views must be taken to task and immediately disowned by all his devotees as scum of the earth. Some of the TV anchors turn outright abusive to prove their reformist zeal. For example, much as I disliked Asaram Bapu’s stupid statements on rape, the abusive harangues he was subjected to in absentia for hours on end, the tsunami of pejoratives used against him, the attempt to bully Sri Sri Ravishankar, Baba Ramdev and Guru Vasudev Jaggi into calling him names made me far more angry at the TV anchors who exceeded all limits on January 7 than I was at Asaram’s stupid statement. Fortunately each of these spiritual gurus stood their ground and remained dignified in distancing themselves from Asaram’s thoughtless statement.

Read more of this post

Re-Interpreting the ‘Old’: from ‘Respectable Femininity’ to a New Interpretational Space


In recent management and organisational studies, researchers have explored the tensions emerging between social constructions of femininity and the identity of the ‘modern’ working woman. The fundamental insight is that the practices, beliefs, and narratives that define women and men are socially constructed and historically situated in power relations. In most organisations, men consciously or unconsciously use these constructions to maintain power.

In exploring an organisation’s culture, focusing on the narratives of femininity, i.e. the stories that shape the identities of individuals and groups, serves as a tool to better understand these constructions. A better understanding in turn can wield a transformative impetus. It can reveal gaps in these constructions and suggest re-interpretations of the narratives and stories. Furthermore, sharing and becoming acquainted with the re-interpretations of other people can lead to new insights and new perceptions. Overall, researchers have come to see that focussing on narratives and stories is extremely useful in understanding and improving the situation of women.

Read more of this post

Police & Judicial Reforms First Priority

Need for Surgeon’s Precision while Amending the Anti Rape Law

683189954Untitled-1 copy

Written and Oral Submissions by MANUSHI before the Justice Verma Commission

The countrywide anger and protest following the brutal gang rape of a 23 year old student has galvanized public opinion as never before. Even though the ostensible demand of protesters is to make the rape law more stringent, the real intent is to express “No Confidence” in the machinery of governance, especially the political class, police and law courts. That is why protests refuse to die down despite numerous pious announcements by the highest functionaries of the state- from the P.M to the Home Minister to the Chief Minister. True to character, the government has come up with a series of knee-jerk responses. These include appointing a Commission to suggest changes in rape laws in 30 days, a Special Task Force of all the big wigs in Delhi Government, proposal for chemical or physical castration of rapists, death penalty for all cases of aggravated sexual assault, mandatory registration of F.I.R.s in every complaint of sexual violence, special fast track courts, and gender sensitization programs for the police and so on.

Read more of this post