Sanjeev Bhatt a former IPS officer who was known for his role in filing an affidavit in the Supreme Court of India against the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, concerning Modi’s alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots. And also for being a voice against Modi’d autocratic rule thereafter.
In 2015, Bhatt was removed from the police service, on the ground of “unauthorised absence”. On June 20, 2019, Sanjeev Bhatt was sentenced to life imprisonment by a local court in a custodial death case, which goes back to 1990. His Wife Swetha Bhatt Speaks to DoolNews about the case and the struggle.
Sanjeev bhatt was fighting against BJP’s autocratic rule and Modi’s governance, but now they have come back with more power, how do you see?
I think Now is the time each and every one of us should stand together. They can scare 5, 10, 20 or 100 people. But if we all stand together then how will the government resist us? Can a government ignore lakhs of them standing together? We should all express our disagreements and dissents because it’s not just the case of Sanjeev Bhatt and his family. It is a problem for the whole country. It has to be a united group oriented activity.
As a family did you face any kind of social boycotting?
Absolutely no and In fact more people came and met us during this period. People from far away places like Kerala came over just to show their support. People still keep calling us over phone. World knows who Sanjeev is and the truth behind this struggle. So there wasn’t any boycotting or bad experience from people.
I think it’s important for people to know about how this fascist government changed your life?
It has been extremely difficult for me to manage. I have to meet lawyers; I am shuttling from places to places like Jamnagar to Palakpur to so on… I am bound to take decisions of that kind which I have never taken before. Every time I take a decision I have to make sure this will help my husband. There is a constant state of dilemma.
At times I feel extremely lonely. Yes, I have to run from one place to another. I am supposed to meet people, talk to many but end of the day I am alone again.
Have you talked with Rahul Gandhi or Sonia Gandhi regarding the case? Why isn’t there any action from Congress?
I haven’t contacted anyone of them. I think they must be busy with their works. And this, I believe I will have to fight legally. What I am looking forward is about meeting my lawyers and how to go to high court with the case. And nobody can help me right now.
This can only be fought legally.
Officers like Rahul Sharma, R.B. Sreekumar, Satish Verma, Kuldip Sharma and Rajnish Rai, were also said to be tortured in similar way. Did they contact you?
As far as the names which you told are considered, they have not contacted me till today. But there are lots of other officers who are constantly in touch with my family.
Did you speak to Sanjeev Bhatt after the judgment? What did he say?
The only reaction was’ he was shocked’. We were not expecting this. He was disappointed because after 35 years of service for his country this is what he gets back. He was indeed worried about his family too.
You have faced personal attacks many times. Do you still face them?
You will be surprised to hear that in the court that day; all the police officers were dressed in the lawyer’s uniform (white shirts and black pants) there are neither nameplates nor uniform. I still fail to understand what they meant. You cannot identify who is who if they are not in their uniforms. They are constantly doing such gimmicks. Luckily
whatever their motive was it didn’t work out all the police men stood by sanjeev’s side.
They saluted him inside the court and showed him huge respect.
Was there any political party, leader or a group who offered to support?
On internet everybody are showing support not one but all political parties are writing in
support or tweeting so. But after all this is a legal battle which we can only fight. We are
fighting it legally where they are fighting it politically.
How are you planning to move ahead with the case? The recent Facebook post explained certain points, how will you present them in court?
The entire case is a baseless. This man goes out of the jail and after 18 days he died, which means the death does not happened while in custody. Custodial death not occurred in the custody?!
He was not arrested by Sanjeev. The case does not come under Sanjeev’s s jurisdiction and there is no proof to show that he was beaten by him. In the enquiry, officers could not find proof for mistreatment from any police officer. There was no FIR in the beginning. Local political leaders or who guided them altered Postmortem application from the family to FIR.
Do you see a chance for other new cases?
In this manner they can create hundreds of them. What else to say! As part of his job Sanjeev have dealt with so many cases. Number of those arrested people might be dead by now. So what is difficulty in framing a new case?
‘Kerala has always showed so much support to our family… on behalf of me please thank each and every people in Kerala who are reaching out to us in different ways. If things go right I will come to Kerala with my husband to thank you personally.’
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