In 2010, the journalist Rana Ayyub spent eight months undercover in Gujarat. Ayyub, who was then working for Tehelka magazine, posed as a filmmaker. She met bureaucrats and senior police officials in Gujarat who held pivotal positions in the state between 2001 and 2010. The transcripts of the sting operation, unpublished so far, form the core of her book Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up. The self-published book narrates what the officials revealed about the complicity of the state machinery in the anti-Muslim violence in 2002, as well as in “encounters” such as the one that resulted in the killing of Ishrat Jehan, and the murder of the state home minister Haren Pandya, events that accompanied the consolidation of power in Gujarat by Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.
In the following excerpt from the book, Ayyub recounts the aftermath of a crucial exposé, and what led her to adopting an undercover identity.
With able help from human rights activists and officers who provided me with evidence, I made one of the most sensational exposés of 2010. These were the call records of the then Minister of State for Home Affairs, Amit Shah, and top officers during the course of encounters. Accompanying the call records was a damning internal Official Secrets Act note. The minister’s activity was being monitored by the state CID and the note alleged that the encounter was a sinister plot to kill innocents and label them terrorists.