Shweta Bhatt, the wife former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhat, who has been facing the wrath of the government after he exposed the then state government’s involvement in 2002 Gujarat carnage, has written an open letter warning every Indian citizen against the brutality of the government.
In 2011, Sanjiv Bhatt had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court accusing Narendra Modi of being complicit in the 2002 Gujarat carnage. Bhatt was removed from the police service in 2015 after he refused to stop raising voice against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was the chief minister of Gujarat during the carnage.
On September 5 the Gujarat Police detained former police officer Sanjiv Bhatt in Ahmedabad for questioning in a 20-year-old criminal case relating to falsely framing a lawyer. He continues to remain in custody since then.
Bhatt’s wife in her letter uploaded on social media platforms has called upon every citizen of India, irrespective of his or her political or ideological inclination, to come out openly and question the regime:
Here’s the full text of Shweta Sanjiv Bhatt’s letter:
Since the past 4 months, the government has left no stone unturned in trying to subdue, victimise and harass our family.
1. In July, our security cover was removed, despite the government being fully aware of the threats on my husband’s life, as one of the main witnesses of the 2002 riots case.
2. A couple of days later, the AMC suddenly demolished parts of our house, in which we had lived for the past 23 years - an initiative based on absolutely illegal and flimsy grounds. They demolished the kitchen, the washrooms and parts of the bedrooms, while making sure to do irreparable damage to the structural integrity of the entire house.
3. On the 5th of September, the CID Crime branch entered our house at 8am, on the grounds of picking up my husband for recording his “statement”. It is worth mentioning that the CID Crime Branch officers entered our bedroom while I was sleeping there, in full knowledge, shamelessly invading my privacy, despite Sanjiv having already met with them and changing to leave with them.
The events that unfolded are the following.
Sanjiv was detained and arrested on the 5th of September 2018 in a 22-year-old case. The doorbell rang at around 8 am. Led by the two officers, an entire unit of policemen barged into our house, covering it inside and out, some even trying to enter our bedroom until they were stopped by my son.
On 6th September 2018, the CID/ (Gujarat) State Government presented Sanjiv in the Palanpur court in a 22-year-old case and asked for a remand of 14 days.
Fortunately, India’s democracy is grounded in the rule of law, and there are still judges standing by this founding but fading principle. Logically and courageously, the court refused to grant remand, observing that “there is no justifiable ground to grant the police remand at this stage”.
Unfortunately, the magistrate’s strict application of the law was labelled as an “act of insubordination” (to whom?), and her decision appealed.
As was expected, the state challenged the Magistrate court’s order, without wasting a single day.
The State’s appeal for Sanjiv’s remand was heard by the Gujarat High court at 2:30 pm. Following the dismissal of their application for custody in the sessions court, the state frantically reiterated at length their previously cited argument, without having anything substantial to add.
The matter was partially heard and got adjourned until 2:30 pm on the 11th of September.
The State’s appeal for remand, which had been dismissed by the sessions court, was granted by the High Court of Gujarat. The latter passed an order granting 10 days remand of Sanjiv to the state police.
18th of September:
We moved the Supreme Court challenging the remand order granted by the High Court of Gujarat; the hearing was scheduled for the 24th of September.
The Supreme Court moved the hearing of the appeal to the 4th of October. Incidentally, by this time the remand period would already be over. Sanjiv was moved from police custody to judicial custody on the 21st.
The Supreme Court, observing that the remand period was already over, directed the lawyers to “move the appropriate court” for the bail application.
The bail application filed in the sessions court was heard by the judge. The state, in an attempt to further delay the process, requested for more time to prepare an affidavit challenging our bail application and was subsequently granted time till the 16th of October.
It has now almost been a month since Sanjiv’s remand period elapsed, however, Sanjiv still remains in custody.
The above events, clearly show how scared the government is of Sanjiv Bhatt, and to what extent they would go to try to intimidate him and his family. We live in a country where democracy and judiciary should be celebrated, instead of being subverted and used for personal benefits and vendettas. As an Indian I feel deeply ashamed of seeing the current sorry state of affairs in the country and the way this government is punishing and hurting whistleblowers everywhere. This needs to come to an end, we need to bring this to an end.
From the 5th of September till the 12th of October, it’s been 37 days since Sanjiv was taken away from home, from his family, in a 22-year-old case. Yet today we are still struggling for bail. The next hearing is on the 16th of October, and we really hope that justice does prevail on that day.
After reading all of the above, I am sure most of you have a lot of questions in mind, regarding the functioning of the government and the way this systematic victimisation of whistleblowers and opponents is taking place. It’s time each and every one of us, irrespective of our political or ideological inclination, come out openly and question this regime, whenever we feel that someone is being wronged. These are the actions of a government left unquestioned. Is it not time that we hold the government responsible for their actions? Today it is us, tomorrow it could be you.
‘Tomorrow it could be you’: Sanjiv Bhatt’s wife warns every Indian against ruthless regime