The life and lies of DG Vanzara

DG Vanzara being led to court for his trial. PTI
DG Vanzara being led to court for his trial. PTI

This story is before the Ishrat Jahan encounter hit front page news, and even before the CBI progress report on the four fake encounter cases that took place in Gujarat during the mid-2000.

It is the story of Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) D G Vanzara, the super-cop who made his name as an “encounter-specialist”. While Vanzara bides his time within the confines of a prison cell, his fall from grace has coincided with the rise of the man who is now being touted as the next Prime Minister, the man who he was reportedly very close to, Narendra Modi.

Having joined the state police in 1980 and becoming IPS cadre in 1991, Vanzara, the son of a landless labourer from Ilol village, rose through the ranks under the guidance of Modi. During the riots after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992, Vanzara was the Superintendent of Police (SP) stationed at Mehsana which is about five hours from Surat, the epicenter of the riots. Vanzara, later on, said that he had no cases of violence in his district. Soon after, he was appointed the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) in Ahmedabad and he earned himself the tag of an encounter-specialist after reportedly killing over 10 ‘terrorists’ post-Godhra.

Almost all of these encounters happened due to an apparent plot to kill Narendra Modi, the head of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad Pravin Togadia or L K Advani. It was in this period that the encounters of Ishrat Jahan (2004) and Sohrabuddin Sheikh (2004) also took place. Both were labled as Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives. There were also the encounters of Tulsiram Prajapati (2006), Samirkhan Pathan (2002), Sadiq Jemal Mehtar (2003). In June the same year, two people were killed who were believed to be a threat to Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Ashok Bhatt and Bharat Barot. Prajapati had even gone to the extent of appealing to an Udaipur court before his death as he was witness to the Sohrabuddin encounter. Vanzara was transferred to the Banaskantha, just days before Prajapati was killed there in December. The Central Investigation Department (CID) also searched for remains of Kausar Bi, the wife of Sohrabuddin Sheikh who was reported missing, at Vanzara’s residence after his arrest. She was also a prime witness.

It came as a surprise to many within the Gujarat hierarchy when Vanzara was arrested in April ’07 by the Gujarat CID as he had become very powerful. He was also hand-in-glove with Modi and former Home Minister Amit Shah, who is said to have orchestrated the encounters. He is considered to be one of the first dominoes to fall and is now in a Mumbai jail where the CBI has recently interrogated him. Vanzara has applied to study Human Rights during his time in jail.

‘Poverty: A State of Mind’ says Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi | Image:

While addressing a function in Allahabad, the remarks made by the Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi have come under fire yet again. Allegedly, his comment on poverty being ‘just a state of mind’ roared a controversy over all social media platforms.

“Poverty is just a state of mind. It does not mean scarcity of food, money or material things. If one possesses self-confidence, then one can overcome poverty”, he said. These words were enough to invite public ire.

After these controversial remarks, Dalit Resource Centre (DRC), which organized the function at the Gobind Ballabh Pant Social Science Institute (GBPSSI) on Monday, came to his rescue. The DRC claimed that the statement was misrepresented.

Later in a press release issued by DRC, Project Director Prof Badri Narayan said, “It is not that he meant that there was no link between poverty and material things like scarcity of food or money. What he meant was that, apart from this, there was another aspect too — the one which exists in the mind. He said that unless the marginalised come together and raise their voice and fight for their share in democracy, they would never get represented”.

Among this all, the twitter was buzzing with feeds against the statement. While some were pointing out the ’intelligence’ of the Congress scion, others were busy promoting Mr Narendra Modi.

Read more here.

Outrage over Amartya Sen’s Economic Policy critique unjustified

Dr Amartya Sen | Image Courtesy:
Dr Amartya Sen | Image Courtesy:

“I don’t want Modi to be the Prime Minister of my country”.  This statement from Amartya Sen sparked a lot of outrage from Modi supporters and the BJP. However, what was lost among people, who were criticizing Sen for his comments, was that he didn’t attack Modi for his communal nature alone, but even his economic model.

This leads us to the question: What exactly was his point? Speaking to the Guardian, Sen explained that half of all Indians do not have access to toilets and basic sanitation. “In Delhi when you build a new condominium, there are lots of planning requirements, but none relating to the servants having toilets”, he said. “It’s a combination of class, caste and gender discrimination. It’s absolutely shocking. Poor people have to use their ingenuity and for women that can mean only being able to relieve themselves after dark with all the safety issues that entails”. He also added that Bangladesh is much poorer than India and yet only 8% don’t have access to a toilet.

Sen’s argument is that India’s overriding preoccupation with economic growth (something Modi and BJP keep bragging about) makes no sense without recognizing that human development depends on how that wealth is used and distributed. What is the purpose of a development model that produces luxury shopping malls rather than sanitation systems that ensure millions of healthy lives, asks Sen, accusing India of “unaimed opulence”. India is caught in the absurd paradox of people having mobile phones but no toilets.

Hence, people looking to blame him need to understand that Amartya Sen is not a politician. He is not of  a political party. It is politicians’ and political parties’ job to plan solutions. It is the job of economists like Amartya Sen to critique their work, and Sen just happens to be very good at it.  His Nobel Prize is testimony. He is not the only one to point out on what needs to be planned. It is the voting public’s job to choose the politician’s plan they most prefer to be legislated and implemented. All he said is that the current economic policy discourse in the media, the Political parties or any Corporate Giants do not offer any viable solutions to the long term inclusive growth in India and that needs to be corrected.

India, and most of all Narendra Modi, should take notice of Sen’s words not as a harsh shove, but rather an inquiring pat on the back to question what all is wrong.

Modi splurges on statue, ignores school

Image source:

A foul smell reeks from every nook and corner of the school in Karamsad where once Sardar Vallabhai Patel studied from standard I to III. Uncultivated flora has grown everywhere and the place resembles that of a dilapidated area where all that remains of the classrooms is granulated concrete.

The school needs a government funding of a meagre amount of Rs. 25 lakh to restore the rundown place and turn it into a memorial of the real ‘Iron Man of India’. However, the Modi-led government has refused to extend any monetary help. In the year 2000, it had handed over the school campus to the Sardar Patel Trust, Karamsad for renovation but since then, its condition has only deteriorated.

Anjali Harolikar, administrator of the trust, said, “The building was leased to us for 30 years. We have submitted a detailed proposal of restoration of the primary school building with estimated cost with map but the government has refused to help.”

On the other hand, Narendra Modi is leaving no stones unturned to fulfil what he had promised, i.e. erecting the tallest statue of Sardar Patel in the whole world. The Gujarat CM made this announcement last week. The last time he made this revelation was in the year 2010 during a press conference marking the beginning of his 10th year as CM.

Modi plans to take help of farmers across the country to make this Rs. 2,000 project, aptly titled “Ek Bharat, Shresth Bharat”, a huge success. Videos demonstrating how the 182 meter- high structure will be twice the height of New York’s Statue of Liberty and five times that of Christ the Redeemer at Rio da Janeiro are already being floated all over the internet.

Modi firmly believes that by approaching the farmers to collect iron from their farming tools for the statue, he will be able to establish an emotional relationship with them. He even quoted this highly ambitious project as  “biggest ever project on any tribal land”.  

Sources: The Times of India, The Indian Express

“I am not guilty for the 2002 Gujarat riots”, says Modi

“I hold no guilt for the Gujarat riots, but I condemn the happening of such horrendous atrocity and deaths of the innocents.”

Guarding himself and his so-called proactive roll in the infamous 2002 riots, Gujarat Chief Minister [CM] Narendra Modi, has said that his government had utilized its total strength to do the correct thing and he holds no guilt about it.

In an interview, he said that people had the right to analyse in a democracy, but he did not have any guilt. He mentioned he condemned the riots, but also added that he would have been sad even if a puppy comes under a car. “Am I a CM or not? I’m a human being too. If something bad happens anywhere, it is natural to be sad”, Modi said when asked if he regrets the happening of the riots.

Modi also argued that till now, he felt that the people of this country have harnessed their full strength to do the right and needful thing. “People have a right to be analytic, as we reside in a democratic country, where everyone has their own views and are allowed to keep it forward,” he said. “I would be guilty if I did something wrong. Disappointment comes when you think I got caught, and (if)I was stealing something and I got exposed. But that’s not my case.”

Modi also argued that the Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team has given him a clean chit in the matter.

“Our Supreme Court is considered to be one of the best judicial courts in the world,” he said. “The Supreme Court appointed a special investigative team and the country’s top-most officials oversee them. In their report, I was thoroughly given a clean chit.”

This was Modi’s first interview after being appointed as the BJP’s election campaign committee chief, an elevation which is being considered as an unofficial declaration of him leading the party for the upcoming 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

He has emerged as a convincing contender for the post of prime minister from the leading opposition party, even though the controversies around the brutal 2002 riots in the state refuses to end. This claimed to be a threat to Modi’s reign in Gujarat, and also overshadow his future plans of contesting the 2014 elections.

Though granted a clean chit by the investigation team, the fact is still that Modi’s role in handling the situation during the 2002 riots was more of fueling the fire to people’s rage, rather than taking measures to control it or curb it.

He may be projected as the future of the Indian political arena, but then one can’t really ignore his alleged role in the riots that claimed the lives of over 3,000 civilians. The question still remains as to why was such an atrocity committed. Was it an ill-provoked outburst of  Hindus against Muslims, or was it just a political move to fulfill some mere agenda, at the cost of people’s lives?

Indifferent to protests, Modi promotes Gujarat

Social and political leader, Gopal Krishna Gokhale had famously said, “What Bengal thinks today, India will think tomorrow.” Narendra Modi may want to replace Bengal with Gujarat in today’s time.

Even as protests continued outside Shri Ram College in Delhi on Wednesday, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi used this platform to talk about the Gujarat Development model. For every achievement in the State, he embedded a hope for India’s tomorrow. Modi also said that his focus was on development politics and not vote bank, which has ‘ruined’ the Nation.

Read the whole speech –


A file picture of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
A file picture of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.


Narendra Modi sworn in as Gujarat CM

Narendra Modi who led the BJP to an unequivocal victory,was  sworn in as Gujarat Chief Minister for the fourth time today. He was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Kamla Beniwal at Sardar Patel Stadium. He was sworn in along with nine Ministers of State and seven ministers of Cabinet rank.

The Victorious!

For more information, follow this link.