Former DGP R B Sreekumar,in a public letter,alleged on Thursday that hundreds of Muslims from Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gam had sought refuge at the State Reserve Police headquarters,barely half a kilometre from their homes,but they were turned away by the Commandant only to be killed hours later by rioters on February 28,2002.
Sreekumar claimed that despite his orders that the gates of the SRP camp be opened to shelter the fleeing Muslims,the Commandant,Khurshid Ahmed,did not do so,resulting in the death of over 100 Muslims.
Ahmed is at present posted as a DCP in Vadodara.
In the letter,Sreekumar annexed a statement he claimed to have made before the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in May 2008 that Ahmed ignored his orders,leading to the killing of more than 100 Muslims outside the SRP camp on February 28,2002.
Sreekumar,who has offered to be a witness before the SIT,has been pressing for his statement to be recorded under sections 161 and 162 of the CrPC,to give it evidentiary value. He has alleged the SIT,which is functioning as a B-team of the Gujarat Police,was deliberately ignoring him.
According to the letter,around 10.30 am on February 28,2002,Ahmed,who commanded SRP Group-II headquartered in Saijpur area near Naroda Patiya,
informed Sreekumar,then additional DGP (armed units),that around 500 Muslims,including women and children,were knocking at entrance gate and requesting for shelter as they were being pursued by armed and violent mob.
Sreekumar ordered that the gates be opened immediately to allow them in. A fax message was sent to the commandant,confirming my orders. The second in command to Ahmed was one Qureshi. Both the officers were quite shaky and worried about allowing Muslim refugees inside the SRP camp. So,I told them that in case anybody questioned them,they could explain they were complying with ADGPs written orders. Later,the state government claimed they saved 500 Muslims by sheltering them in the SRP camp, the letter said.
Sreekumar claimed he learnt later that day that the the commandant had closed the gates to the refugees without informing him,under pressure from higher authorities and BJP leaders. Consequently,in front of SRP Group-ll camp entrance,nearly 100-130 Muslims were killed. Many women were gang-raped and bodies were dumped in a nearby abandoned well. In fact,the mobs found the Muslims gathered outside the SRP entrance an easy target,available at a single spot, says the retired DGP.
According to the letter,Sreekumar he met the then DGP K Chakravarthi in the afternoon the same day and told him about the incident,but the DGP told him about a meeting convened by CM Narendra Modi on February 27 late evening where he had instructed all officers,to allow Hindus to vent out their anger.
Sreekumar added in the letter that the SIT had ample evidence against Modi and other officials who together conspired in the post-Godhra riots.
Despite repeated calls and text messages,Ahmed failed to respond.
In a related development,suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt once again wrote to the SIT on Thursday alleging that the evidence he had gathered and produced before it has not been taken cognisance of.