How Police Officers Defied the Orders of Their Superiors to Protect Muslims in Naroda Patiya

01 January 2016

RB Sreekumar was the additional director general of the Gujarat police in the intelligence department, a post he took over soon after the Godhra riots in 2002. 

In August 2004, Sreekumar deposed against the state government and filed nine affidavits in front of the Nanavati-Mehta commission, which was investigating the carnage. In 2005, he was denied a promotion on the grounds that that a case from 1987—a period during which he was the superintendent of police in Kutch—was pending in court. He subsequently took the case to the Central Administrative Tribunal, which ruled in his favour in September 2006. The Gujarat government had also initiated a probe against Sreekumar for maintaining a “secret official diary” and for giving out “classified information” to the panel. He got a stay on this investigation from the Supreme Court in October 2015.

Sreekumar’s book Gujarat: Behind the Curtain, which was released in December last year, criticises the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Sangh Parivar for its role in the violence. Sreekumar also condemns the United Progress Alliance government for its failure in the delivery of justice to the victims of the riot.

In the following excerpt, Sreekumar describes how his explicit orders to protect the Muslims in Naroda Patiya were defied on 28 February 2002, leading to the death of 96 people.

The constitution of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Dr RK Raghavan (former Director, Central Bureau of Investigation) in March 2008, on the request of the National Human Rights Commission and Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) spearheaded by Teesta Setalvad evoked great optimism and expectation among riot victim survivors. On 9 May 2008, I met Dr RK Raghavan in the SIT office, Gandhinagar, and submitted a statement relating to nine major mass murder cases under SIT investigation along with copies of my four affidavits to the commission, requesting for further action. An extract of my statement relevant to investigation of Naroda Patiya case, is given below:

Keywords: Gujarat riots Gujarat Naroda Patiya RB Sreekumar