A police officer who ably quelled riots - Rahul Sharma

A police officer who ably quelled riots - Rahul Sharma

Another person who withstood his ground and emerged as hero was Mr Rahul Sharma, a 1992 batch IPS officer, who was posted as Superintendent of Police (SP) of Bhavnagar district about whom Mr Shreekumar has written so high about in his book “The Diary of a Helpless Man” saying that he was the only other officer who stood to himself in the affidavit before the Nanavati commission probing the riots.

In Mr Sharma’s district a mob was fired at killing four when it was attacking an orphanage with 350 inmates in it. He dealt with the other riotous elements with the same firmness and neutrality (almost with an iron hand as is desired on such occasions) and thus Bhavnagar became the first district in Gujarat where the rioters got so much discouraged and frightened that they simply chickened out and the riots got controlled with immediate effect.

About Mr Rahul Sharma’s contribution in the Gujarat riots, Vikram Rautela of the Indian Express on Feb 08, 2009 titled- "IPS Rahul Sharma expresses willingness to rejoin state police" , writes- "Sharma had provided the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) with a set of two compact discs containing records of all mobile phone calls made in and around Ahmedabad during the 2002 riots. He had procured the call records from Cellforce and AT&T, which were providing mobile phone service at that time."

It further says- "During his brief tenure as
Superintendent of Police (SP) from February 27 to March 26, 2002, he had successfully controlled rioting in the district. The Modi government, however, shunted him to the low profile post of DCP in the Ahmedabad police's control room on April 8, 2002. Less than a week after he got the CDs in June 2002, Sharma was taken off the riot probe and sent to group 11 SRP at Vav near Surat on July 6. The transfer was being considered by some as a punishment posting for having ruffled several feathers. On August 22, 2003, Sharma joined the CID (crime), and six months later, he joined the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on February 17, 2004."

In another news-article titled "On hold for 7 yrs, probe picks up Gujarat riot phone CDs" dated Feb 06, 2009, Vikram Rautela writes – "A set of CDs containing mobile phone records of all calls made in Ahmedabad during the 2002 Gujarat riots, ignored by at least one probe panel but preserved by an IPS officer, is now helping the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) in the reinvestigation of the ten worst riot cases." Adding- "The SIT has relied heavily on the interpretation of the data in the CDs. “It took us almost six months to analyse this huge data. It was on the basis of these findings that we got a clear picture of who was where on February 28, 2002 and we prepared questionnaires for the accused and suspects accordingly," said an SIT officer who did not wish to be identified.

Rautela further writes- "In October 2004, Sharma, appearing before the Nanavati Commission, caused a stir when he took out copies of the CDs from a bag and placed it before the panel. Shunted to Surat after the riots, Sharma kept a copy of the CDs."

Here I would like to add that I belong to the same batch as Mr Rahul Sharma and feel doubly proud to have been there with this brave person for nearly two years at the National Police Academy, Hyderabad sharing hours together.

What makes Mr Sharma so very special in our eyes is the fact that he is so unassuming and gentle-mannered that one would tend to disbelieve that all the exploits being mentioned are really his own. How could a person who can hardly harm a fly get transformed into one in whose district the riots were quelled and crushed in the most effective manner, going to the extent of being ruthless almost in the copybook style? He is very decent in his words and speech, very cool and helping and very much a friend’s friend. Yet when it comes to his obligations towards his duty and his commitment to his job, he gets the Arjun’s eyes leaving everything else other than the work assigned. This is our Rahul Sharma. He is now going back to the Gujarat cadre from the CBI where we all know that he would continue doing his good work.

Amitabh Thakur

(The author is a senior police officer serving as Superintendent of Police (Intelligence), and can be contacted on mobile phone:

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