By Sweety Sinha:
In the game of chess, you sacrifice pawns to save the king. This is what Vanzara’s letter reveals about the role of the Gujarat government. DIG D.G. Vanzara has accused Modi of having failed to protect the jailed police officers who were prosecuted in a series of fake encounter cases that were conspired in the aftermaths of the Gujarat riots. According to the letter, the police force was only implementing the “conscious and proactive policy of zero tolerance for terrorism” which was laid down by those at the highest level of Gujarat’s administration. Vanzara accused that it was the top leadership that was inspiring, guiding and monitoring the actions and hence the policy makers must also be questioned.
However, the timing of the letter is crucial and it is a major hurdle for Modi who is harboring national aspirations. It signals that his road to New Delhi is not a cake walk and the ghost of 2002 continues to haunt him. The letter has set the stage for direct assault on Modi. In his letter, Vanzara has targeted Amit Shah, Modi’s trusted lieutenant and this can have severe repercussions for BJP as the man is the chief election campaigner in the crucial state of U.P., Shah’s tainted persona can have a negative outcome for BJP in 2014 and it seems that Modi is backing him, that goes against his political and strategic wits. What is more damaging for Modi is that similar facts, as pointed by Vanzara, have been backed by few other detained officials and it is out in public. This is definitely going to tarnish his image in public.
On the other hand, Vanzara’s claims that he was just a loyal soldier to his masters can be questioned. Definitely, these police officers were not on an individual expedition and were backed by the political authorities in power. But it is evident that he got favourable rewards and so he worked in compliance with the government policies. He could have denied it on moral and legal grounds to protect the sanctity of the police force. But he chose not to do so. As such, the extra judicial killings that were carried out under his guidance were just to appease the Modi government.
For Modi, these encounters have given him political dividends. He can attribute his success of 2007 elections to these encounters. Since all of them were Muslims, it was a trump card, a Muslim name that can draw hatred in a polarised state. But in 2013, Modi has to adopt an all encompassing role if he aims high. It is for this fact that both Modi and BJP have chosen not to speak on the issue. In fact, the political parties are out to capitalize on the opportunity and demean each other. While BJP accused congress of purposely raising the agenda to divert the attention from real issues, Congress has demanded a resignation from the CM on grounds of the sting operations.
As for Vanzara, his letter reveals that he is tired and frustrated of the judicial proceedings. His faith in his ‘God’ is shaken and he requests Modi to divert attention towards the accused policemen as he states “It would not be out of context to remind that he, in the hurry of marching towards Delhi, may kindly not forget to repay the debt which he owes to the jailed police officers who endowed him with the halo of brave Chief Minister.”