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2002 Gujarat riots: SIT report on Army deployment is ‘blatant lie’, says Lt. General

Shah’s assertions have been backed by Gen Padmanabhan to whom the After Action Report on the army’s action to quell the riots, was submitted by Shah in June 2002.



CM Modi Lt Zamee Shah

New Delhi, Oct 8 : Retired Lt. General Zameer Uddin Shah, who led the Army troops in quelling violence in 2002 Gujarat riots, has described portions of the enquiry report by the Supreme Court appointed Special Investigative Team (SIT), related to the Army movement, as “a blatant lie”.

Shah has said in his upcoming memoir, “The Sarkari Mussalman” that after about 3,000 troops landed at Ahmedabad airfield at 7 am on March 1, they had to wait for a day to received transport and other logistical support from the state government in order to fan out to the cities and towns which were engulfed in violence.

This delay happened despite a request by the Lt. General to the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi at 2am on March 1 in Ahmedabad, in the presence of Union Defence Minister George Fernandes.

The SIT report, that had cleared Modi’s name, had concluded that there was no delay “in requisition and deployment of the Army”, based on testimony of Ashok Narayan, Additional Chief Secretary (Home). “The deployment of Army commenced at 1100 hrs on 01-03-2002, after a high level meeting of Chief Minister and Union Defence Minister along with the senior officers of the Army and State Administration”, the SIT report said.

“This is a blatant lie,” Shah told IANS on Monday, maintaining that the 3,000 Army troops were kept stranded at Ahmedabad airfield for more than a day as the state government was said to be still “making arrangements” to provide them transport. The troops were moved by the Air Force from Jodhpur on orders of the then Chief of Army Staff, Gen S. Padmanabhan, following widespread killings in Gujarat on February 28.

Shah’s assertions have been backed by Gen Padmanabhan to whom the After Action Report on the army’s action to quell the riots, was submitted by Shah in June 2002. “In this event, as far as I remember, the army troops must have landed by the middle of the night. If they landed in the middle of the night, what were they going to do? Start running around all over the place? The vehicles were not there. They were not provided by the state government. How will they function? So if he (Shah) has said that then he’s certainly right. He was the man on ground,” Padmanabhan told IANS over telephone from Chennai.

The SIT never called the Lt General for questioning. It looks apparent from its report that the SIT did not look at Shah’s After Action Report submitted to Gen Padmanabhan, which was later passed on to the central government.

The SIT report further stated: “The deployment of the Army required additional logistic support by the Civil Administration in the form of Executive Magistrates, vehicles, liaison officers, guides and maps. The District Magistrtae, Ahmedabad provided 6 buses, 9 trucks and 15 jeeps for Army use by 0230 hrs on 01-03-2002. During the day on 01-03-2002, 39 other vehicles were also provided to the Army personnel.”

Shah refuted the SIT’s findings and said “that never happened”. He said that Fernandes came to the airbase at about 10-11 am on March 1 and addressed the troops. “We do not operate without the magistrates and the police guides because we don’t know the way in the city. We can operate in the jungle but not in the city. So I told Mr George Fernandes about the problem and he said that he would do something,” Shah maintained.

“I got it (the transport) only on the 2nd (March 2002). Why would George Fernandes come and speak to us if the troops had been deployed?” he asked. Shah had told IANS in an earlier report that many more lives could have been saved had the Army got the transport and other support on March 1.

The SIT Enquiry Report was submitted in the case of Zakia Jafri and Anr. VS State of Gujarat and Ors. Of the 30 allegations made by Zakia Jafri, widow of late Congress legislator Ehsan Jafri — who was killed in a mob attack in Gulbarg Housing Society — allegation No. XIV was that “there was an undue delay in requisition and deployment of Army”.

The SIT had rejected the charge in its closure report, which was made available to the Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) through an order of the Magistrate’s Court dated April 10, 2012 saying that “the allegation is not substantiated”.

Shah says he “could not be surer” about the events leading to the deployment of Army in Gujarat as he had mentioned every detail in the After Action Report on Operation Aman. “Every single thing is in the Report. This was around June 2002. I filed my report and gave a copy to Gen Padmanabhan. He was not there but I left it with his Military Assistant. He later told me he had read it and had handed it over to the government.

(Saket Suman can be contacted at [email protected])


Eliminated JeM leadership within 100 hrs of Pulwama attack: Army



Dantewada Attack

Srinagar, Feb 19 (IANS) The Indian Army on Tuesday said within 100 hours of the February 14 Pulwama attack on a CRPF convoy that left 40 troopers dead, it eliminated the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) leadership in the valley that planned and executed the deadly carnage.

This was stated by Lt Gen K.S. Dhillon of the 15 Corps Commander, at a joint press briefing here in Jammu and Kashmir, along with officials state police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

He also made it clear that the Pulwama attack was carried out by the JeM, which is based in Pakistan, with active support of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Pakistan Army.

“Within 100 hours of the Pulwama terror attack, we hit the JeM in the Kashmir Valley which was being handled by the Pakistan-based JeM,” Dhillon said.

He also added that the details of the two terrorists and one local conduit who were killed in the operation was shared on Monday.

“The local commanders, most of them Pakistanis, who were in-charge of controlling, coordinating, fabricating and executing the attack on Thursday, were the top leadership of the JeM in the valley,” Dhillon said.

Since the JeM leadership was already being tracked, the Indian operation was launched on Sunday night on specific information of the module.

Giving a stern warning to sympathisers of the terror movement in the state, he said: “Anyone who picks up a gun in Kashmir will be eliminated, unless the person surrenders.”

“I would also like to tell one thing to the parents of the Kasmhiri youths, especially the mothers, as I understand that they have a key role. Through you, I request the sons to surrender and join the main stream,” the officer said.

In the biggest crackdown after the February 14 attack by a suicide bomber that left 40 CRPF troopers dead in Pulwama district, the security forces ringed a militant hideout in Pinglena village, just 10 km from the Thursday’s terror attack site, triggering a gun battle Sunday overnight that continued intermittently till Monday evening.

They killed three militants of the Pakistan-backed JeM, two of them Pakistani nationals identified as Kamran and Abdul Rashid alias Ghazi Umar. Besides, a Major, three soldiers and a civilian were also killed in the initial burst of gunfire by the militants.

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Dealings of European missile manufacture under scanner



Rafale Fighter Jet

New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) A leading European arms manufacturer MBDA, which supplies missiles for the Rafale jets, has come under the scanner of probe agencies here for its suspected links with lobbyist Deepak Talwar, who was extradited from Dubai last month.

The country head of MBDA, Loic Piedevache, has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate to appear before it on Monday in connection with the probe relating to the company’s links to Talwar, who is believed to have steered several deals with Airbus, which holds a stake in MBDA, during the UPA regime, according to sources.

Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro had entered into a joint venture with MBDA to supply missiles and missile systems to the Indian armed forces.

L&T holds 51 per cent stake in the joint venture, L&T MBDA Missile Systems, and had identified defence as one of the key drivers for achieving growth in the sector.

The sources claimed that apart from questions on the company’s engagement with the Indian forces, Piedevache would also be questioned on the alleged payments to Talwar’s NGO. Advantage India, to the tune of Rs 88 crore between 2012 and 2015, from MBDA and Airbus.

Later, the entire money was said to have been withdrawn in cash by using “fake purchases”, the sources said.

Analysts said this was probably a rare occasion when the India head of a leading international firm was being summoned by a probe agency.

Piedevache has been heading the company’s operations in India for a decade. The Mirage upgrade programme and Rafale were signed during Piedevache’s tenure in India and he could be privy to information, the sources said.

“If required, the probe agency may also summon group export director Jean-Luc Lamothe. First of all, Piedevache would be asked to explain the company’s payments to Talwar’s NGO,” the sources said.

Piedevache could not be reached for his comments. An MBDA spokesperson said the company would support the authorities in their probe. It maintained that it had supported social development initiatives in India as part of corporate social responsibility, which included some payments to the NGO.

The company is involved in the Rs 30,000 crore offset programme associated with the 36 war planes.

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Rupee weakened against $ in choppy weekly trade



India Rupee

Mumbai, Feb 17 (IANS) In a choppy week’s trade, the Indian currency weakened against the US dollar to close above the 71 a dollar mark on Friday, owing to a sharp rise in crude oil prices, turmoil in the equity markets and uncertainty around the US-China trade relations.

In what could translate into further trouble for the domestic currency, analysts see an upward move of 6 to 7 per cent in the Brent crude prices in the coming week.

The rupee lost heavily towards the end of the week – over 70 paise in the last three trading session – as traders reacted to the sanction on Venezuela and production cut by OPEC and Saudi Arabia.

Sajal Gupta, Head Fx & Rates Edelweiss, said “technically … crude now looks set for another 6-7 per cent rise” which would mean that the rupee was likely to depreciate further in the coming sessions. “And if Rs 71.80 per dollar is broken, we can head towards Rs 72.50 mark.”

Among other factors impacting the currency, Gupta said, with crude and dollar index giving breakout, rupee would remain under pressure. Trade deficit data released on Friday post market was also not very encouraging with monthly deficit touching almost 15 billion dollars.

“Political tensions would also remain heightened with key leaders vowing strong retaliation in wake of the biggest terror attack in the Kashmir valley.”

Explaining the factors which has caused volatility, Anindya Banerjee of Kotak said the currency markets largely depend on the capital flows … and right now the fear of a possible retaliation by the government in response to the Pulwama attack is having an affect.

“The context of the whole event is also important because (Lok Sabha) elections are around the corner,” Banerjee said.

Also, the currency losing against the dollar and rising crude oil prices was a double whammy for the bond markets, he added.

On the global front, discussing the factors affecting the currency, Banerjee said, the Chinese economy was very fragile right now and moreover investors were looking for developments in the US-China trade talks.

However, Gurang Somaiya, currency analyst, Motilal Oswal, felt that the rupee was protected from any major weakness as “Foreign Institutional Investment (FII’s) came around good”, especially in February.

According to data from the bourses, FII has seen inflows worth Rs 1,096 crore in February.

India on Friday revoked the Most Favoured Nation Status (MNS) of Pakistan and has warned that more stern actions will follow the attack in Pulwama. Additionally, equity markets have declined for 6 straight sessions showing weak investor sentiments.

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