Former Vice President Hamid Ansari on Saturday raised questions about the civil and police administration’s failure during the 2002 Gujarat riots and the role of the Parliamentary system in such a situation.
Releasing Lt General Zameer Uddin Shah’s (retd) memoir, ‘The Sarkari Mussalman’, Ansari said, “The book is silent about the role of the political leadership. If civil and police administrations fail to respond to a massive failure of law and order, where does the responsibility rest in a democratic and Parliamentary system? Why was Article 355 of the Constitution, which makes it duty of the Union to protect a state against internal disturbance, not invoked even when the Centre had the benefit of the Raksha Mantri’s on-the-spot assessment?”
Shah, who was sent to Ahmedabad in 2002 to control the riots, has written in his book that support for 3,000 troops, who reached Ahmedabad on March 1, came only the following day, and the Army lost “crucial hours” before soldiers were deployed to control violence. He has also written that the administration’s response was “tardy”, and that the police behaved in a parochial manner.
Shah’s memoir speaks about his time in the Northeast and his time as the vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University.