Saturday, 3 December 2011

'Why Is Narendra Modi Afraid Of Sanjiv Bhatt?'

("I asked for water; not caste")
A mosaic in the backyard of Gandhi's Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad. Is this the same Gujarat?


[Sanjiv and Shweta Bhatt are caring hosts to their guests. The large and yet simple Bhatt residence oozes warmth from all corners. This home, that has nurtured this brave family to do what is right before might, leads me to understand them a little better. Over a cup of appropriately-spiced masala chai, I relax in their leafy terrace. Shweta Bhatt narrates to me her feelings and thoughts about the Gujarat that was once safe, her brave husband, and the sea of humanity that keeps her family afloat in these rough times. On the other hand, the suspended IPS officer who is in no hurry to get back to his office, always has a fixed answer with a smile: “Life is good.” The answer and the smile: neither of them are false. Here are Shweta's words, as she urges me to “tell the world the truth about Narendra Modi...”]

I have always been a housewife; I am a housewife still, and am happy to be one. Sanjiv and I both love our families a lot, and our family has always stood by us. We had a love marriage. We were preparing for the UPSC exams, but I did not go for the interview because we were in a steady relationship by then – why waste a seat when I wouldn't be in the Services? When Sanjiv had filled his form, he wrote “IPS”, “IPS”, “IPS” for the three options of choice of the Service. He was always in love with the force; he was in love with the uniform. So when he saw what had transpired in 2002, he was shocked. But more than anything else, he felt sorry for the force. The way the policemen had barged into our house showed us how they stripped away dignity and discipline from the uniform.

There is something special about the police uniform, or any other uniform for that manner. A man who wears even the driver's uniform transforms his behaviour. The uniform commands some respect. Similarly, any police officer would stand up to greet the lady-wife, even if she is the wife of one's junior officer.
But none of that respect for the uniform or the senior officer or for the lady-wife was to be seen, when 35 policemen barged into our house, without any prior intimation or without any search warrant. We realised that this was dictated and threatened to them, on the lines of “Go and abuse your senior officer.”

Sanjiv would discuss everything with me, so I knew what needed to be spoken or asked at the right time. When he decided to speak aloud, we knew that there would be repercussions. But we never dreamt that the police force could stoop to such low levels. When they came to my house, they began to dig through every item. Few of them would apologise for what they were doing, stating that they were under compulsion to conduct such a behaviour. I said nothing to them, because I knew that this was Modi's ways of harassing us, to break our morale. I never resisted what they were doing either. I told filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, “I thought it was only in Hindi films that cops barge into people's homes and throw up clothes and everything around in their search operations. But we saw this happening with our own eyes, in our own home, by the same police force that Sanjiv loves.” मुझे अब तो इस फोर्स पर घिन आती है (I look down at the Force with disdain now). 
The IPS Officers' Association was lying defunct for several years, but then I heard that they had a meeting after many years, when Sanjiv was arrested. Some of Sanjiv's peers would call me up on my landline phone and ask me in whispers, “Can we do anything for you Shweta?” I would reply to them, “At least begin to talk a bit louder so that I can hear you clearly!” This is the level of fear among the officers.
Only one who lives in Gujarat can correctly define the word 'subversion'. Men from the IB (Intelligence Bureau) had begun to jot the phone numbers and car numbers of every visitor discreetly. I finally asked one of those constables to stop behaving like a thief in copying the car number plate. Now, they just thoroughly question the visitor.
We learnt that Special Public Prosecutor SV Raju was being paid Rs 1.5 crore to 'manage' the court proceedings, and on Fridays, he was being paid some more so that the remand would drag onto the next week. But it was heartening to see the media come to the courts daily, to watch the proceedings. When he was finally granted bail, everyone cheered aloud 'Singham'! This sudden fame and hero worship has been overwhelming, yet assuring us about what Sanjiv had done.

I am sure many more policemen would have much to talk about to, but not all have the courage to do so. They are bound by other restrictions. But then again, we have been fortunate to have found the support and strength from so many different directions. So far it has been believed that anyone who speaks against Modi is the enemy. But something changed this year. On Dusshera day, at several places across Gujarat, Modi was portrayed as the Raavan and Sanjiv was portrayed as Singham!

The protection that the Home Ministry is offering us is so weak – just three men, and only one of them with a gun. We do fear for our lives. One of the constables comes with us wherever we go. But now Sanjiv has to travel to Jamnagar for his cases, or even Delhi. He is also being invited at various fora across the country, wanting him to speak to eager audiences. He cannot say refuse such invitations because now it is our time to stand with them. He is the hope for many people today. They stood by us in what was our dark hour when Sanjiv was arrested. But all this travel means he is being watched all the time. The phones are tapped; his official phone number has been cancelled. These are Modi's ways of harassing anyone standing against him.

Sanjiv kept on insisting the SIT that he should be summoned to give his statements. But they ignored him because they knew that मोदी का पोल खुल जाएगा (Modi's secrets would be out). Why is Modi afraid of Sanjiv? Because Sanjiv has everything to say which Modi wants to hide.

What Modi did in 2002 was nothing short of a systematic and well-funded killing of Gujarat, which was once a truly prosperous and harmonious state. We never had a communal flare-up before Modi reign. BJP has changed that picture of Gujarat. There are flyovers being made in Kanpur; there are flyovers being made in Allahabad; there are flyovers being made in Ahmedabad. So why are just flyovers being deemed as development? There is no development in Gujarat; on the contrary, we are moving backwards.
Many have asked skeptically, why is Sanjiv speaking out now? Has he done it for Congress? My answer is this: there is something beyond politics, and that is one's one soul and conscience. Sanjiv is doing what he is doing for himself, and in doing so, to prevent any such communal flare-up ever again.
For all those 18 days when Sanjiv was in jail, my 75-year-old father, despite his ailing knees, would arrive here at 9 am each day, to be with me. People whom I had never known would just come home – they were people from different human rights groups, students from colleges, and others who had no group or organisation as their affiliation. I was buying up to 45 packets of milk everyday, for a constant supply of tea or nimboo paani to the visitors. That strength they offered was unbelievable. They knew that Sanjiv was doing the right thing.
Many many many people stood with candles every evening when Sanjiv was in jail. They would come and say, “We are with you.” We were at the mall the other day, and at least 12 people walked to our table and said to Sanjiv, “You are a brave man. We are proud of what you have done. We are with you.” Saniv and I wonder what it is that they mean by “We are with you.” We wonder if the people uttering those words would also know what they mean by that sentence. But we are happy to hear those words and are assured to know that people can see between right and wrong.

Be it on the streets....

Or on the bus....

On a residential building's wall...

Or on the concrete fence of a beautiful garden....

Just remember: Modi Bhai Is Watching You. It isn't anymore surprising that 'Modi' rhymes with 'moti', which, in Gujarati means 'big'. Literally, Big Brother is Watching You, in Gujarat!

When Modi Bhai isn't watching you directly, he urges you to look up at the photograph of Hrithik Roshan, which in reality is the compulsion for you to check out the gymnasium that has been sponsored by the Hindu Saamrajya Sena (Hindu Imperial Army).

Note: all of the photographs above have been taken within a stretch of 300 metres. On another day in South Gujarat, when I had to change 8 buses, I greeted Modi on each bus as he waved to me from the bus's side panels.


  1. Hey Priyanka - Thanks for posting this. Wholeheartedly supporting Sanjiv & Shweta Bhatt in this. Let us hope justice is finally served through his efforts.

    Though I have to say I didn't get what she means by Gujarat never having a history of communal riots before Modi. Gujarat Congress is naamcheen for using communal divide for their gain. There have unfortunately been many riots - before and during Mumbai blasts, Babri etc. Only difference is Modi & BJP treated riots very systematically.

  2. Always wondered how the family was coping through this 'crisis'. Thanks for sharing this with me. Gives me many answers.

    I am re-posting this.

  3. Hey priyanka i know your post is important and truthful.
    But just tell me why always Hindus are targeted by congress nd the dirty indian media.have you ever heard saffron terrorism. No its happen only in due to congress.ek din aisa aayega jab india hindustan banega.kyunki yahan ish desh k andar Mard ki jarurat hai na ki sonia,rahul nd our sweet hijrey jaisa PM of india.

  4. Thanks for the article. It must be really a painful time for the family.

  5. Thank you everyone for your encouraging comments.

    Dear Relatively Speaking, I'm sure Mrs Shweta Bhatt is aware of the communal riots pre-Modi. But I think she want to emphasise on the rapid "saffronning" of Gujarat in the last decade.

    Dear On-Hold India, I am not quite clear what you want to express. Does it really matter which party is more criminal, when horrendous crimes are being committed?

  6. I saw this ad on TV by Tata Tea... "desh ubal raha hai...".

    The Bhatt family and you Ms. Borpujari all leading that 'ubal' in this country.

    Hats off to them to be able to speak the truth and live the consequences and respect for you to have the courage to speak the language of truth.

    May the force be with you guys.

  7. People like Sanjiv n Shweta Bhatt n their conviction n determination somehow encourages me, not to lose faith in humanity. thank u shweta for sharing yr thoughts n priyanka for all the effort

  8. Just one more instance to show that politics is riddled with avarice and self-aggrandizement. Yours may be a lone voice, but speak on nevertheless!

  9. Isn't It a one Side Story. Shouldn't Journalism actually try be impartial and have a complete picture.

  10. Virag, which so-called "mainstream" media channel or newspaper gives a complete picture? They give you one or very limited view. I'm giving another view. You, the reader, has to think and decide the truth.

  11. nice article, showing my solidarity to the victims of gujrat is all can do from here. and ofcourse keep reading and commenting.. lol

  12. Dear Rajiv, thanks for reading. Your solidarity counts, as much as your effort in spreading the word (and/or this article) around. There is a lot all of us can do -- only if we really want to. All the best.

  13. well said priyanka, and that's where exactly what you asked on hold india becomes relevent. why do ppl always wanna talk about congress or any other party or state for reference? why cant we first decide that modi is guilty or not.if yes, he should be punished , whether he is caught by some force/person/entity supported by congress or anyone else. that is a total non issue.

    1. I'd say -- why can't people first ask themselves, "What would I have done if my daughter was raped?" or "What would I have done if I had the gun?" The foremost question is about asking oneself what makes us human. We have failed at that, and miserably in Gujarat. People like the Bhatts who listen to the thud of their conscience (yes, it is always a thud and never a murmur) give hope for humanity.

  14. The Bhatts live in imminent daily danger - the danger of a well-planned but seemingly accidental mishap that can occur any day. Hats off to them for daring to take this path!

    BTW, Pri, where is the 'Like' button for your posts?

    1. And now we ought to keep them safe :-)

      Have added the 'FB like' button. Spread the word like viral now :-)

  15. Sanjiv Bhatt is a saint?

    I am not a Modi fan at all but the way this article has come out it seems Sanjiv Bhatt is a vely vely HONEST POLICE OFFICER!!!

    1. I don't wish to make anyone a saint - that would be unfair to humanity as a whole, when we all have a chance to be good human beings. Also, this is purely the voice of Shweta Bhatt, and it was meant to be so. It is a voice that had to come out. Sadly, in today's day and age when we constantly have to go with the lesser evil, I fail to understand why we always seem to have issues with anyone who wants to stand up with what is the truth. Have we forgotten that everyone deserves a fair chance at walking the path of truth?

    2. Even if this is the voice of Shweta, the article is all about Sanjeev. Had Sanjeev not been this police officer, u would not have gone to meet Shweta. Accepted Shweta as a lady is distressed and one supports her in her pain of her husband's arrest, but this cannot be a counterpoint to the facts of a case.

      Isn't a journalist supposed to bring out the facts and only the facts from either side if there are two sides to a story?

      Why have u assumed that Sanjeev is the lesser evil? Just because somebody decides to fight the govt he/she becomes the lesser evil?

      Of course ppl should stand up for the truth, but how do u know Sanjeev Bhatt is standing up for the truth or trying to save his own skin? U have already decided beforehand!!!

      Of course Shweta and Sanjeev deserve a fair chance. No doubt about it. Aren't they getting a fair chance? Are u assuming the justice system in this country cannot give them a fair chance. In which case there is nothing more to be discussed at all.

    3. Sir, (you who wish not to reveal your name), you should be asking the so-called 'mainstream' media if they do justice to bring out the facts from all perspectives. Because they fail at that, I have decided to tell what they would not want to bring to the fore.

      I really would like to know where do you stand in your politics, with regards to the Godhra riots. I say this because, it takes tremendous amount of courage to stand up to one's conscience. Tell me, do you do that? So in that case, you cannot be really talking of someone getting a fair chance or not. Because 'fair chance' is something that people who have never been victimised can talk about. Go tell the families who lost their loved ones to a dirty religious war, about few thousand rupees' compensation as 'fair chance'. Because the judicial system is corrupt, because people love to stick to their easy opinions, because people do not want to see the different perspectives and then complain when someone puts forth an uncomfortable truth -- this is why people with conscience (like the Bhatts) have to stand up. I'm sure he has heard all what you have said -- there are many others shouting the same and doing nothing -- but I'm sure he is at peace with his soul. Seen that ever? I hope you do so someday -- because that comes with conscience and honesty.

      All the best. Thanks for reading.

    4. Priyanka I am also very pained at the way journalists give titles to their story.

      A majority of the time, the title is just given to attract maximum eyeballs and will not actually reflect or represent the true content of the story.

      Ur title is also very misleading.

      Is N Modi afraid of Sanjeev Bhatt. Is that not ur opinion? Is it a fact or the truth?

      A more factual title would be N Modi v/s Sanjeev Bhatt.

      I mean pls pls stick to the truth. U will earn much more goodwill, respect, and love from ur readers.

      I wish u would meet N Modi and interview him also.

      Again I do not bat for N MODI. Let the truth be revealed and let Modi and Bhatt both be convicted for all their wrongdoings. Public servants need to serve and not run riot over us with our money and sweat.

    5. Pls, u write well though u write infrequently. I appreciate the topics that u choose to write and the way u are going about this. Truly appreciated. No personal offense meant. Never. This the reason I choose to comment on ur blog. I am not hear to hit and run.

      My stand on this nation is clear.

      We are Indians in India and very good and responsible human beings on earth. (Though I would prefer the concept of nations to go/It is the cause of much pain). Personal faith needs to be kept within the home and the place of worship. Our public life is the life of an Indian. Period.

      Whether it is a criminal act by one or a reaction to a criminal act by another, both need to be dealt with the law justly.

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