Popular Front of India General Secretary M Mohammed Ali Jinnah has said that the verdict sentencing former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt to life imprisonment is the result of political vendetta against him.
Sanjiv Bhatt had filed an affidavit in 2011 in the Supreme Court stating that while he was serving as the Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence in the Gujarat State Intelligence Bureau, in the wake of Godhra train tragedy, the chief minister instructed top police officials in the state to allow Hindu mobs to vent their anger on Muslims. He had also claimed that his concern about the spread violence and the threat to the life of Congress leader Ehsan Jafri was also ignored by the state government. Bhatt had also accused before the Supreme Court appointed Special Investigative Team (SIT), formed to probe the communal carnage, of covering up a larger conspiracy.
It seems that Sanjeev Bhatt is paying huge price for the bold and principled stand he had taken. He was suspended and subsequently removed from his job. He was arrested and released on bail in 2011. Gujarath government had tried to keep him behind bars objecting his bail. He was again arrested in September 2018 in connection with a 1996 drug planting case and has been behind bars ever since.
The present custodial death case in which he was awarded life sentence by Jamnagar Sessions Court in Gujarat dates back to 1990, when he was the Assistant Superintendent of Police in Jamnagar. There is every reason to believe that he is being pursued by powerful people who find him a threat to their communal agenda.
Jinnah cautioned that the silence over such persecution will only contribute to the dictatorial tendencies already strengthening in the country. He appealed the civil society and human rights activists to be alert and stand by struggle of Sanjiv Bhat for justice.