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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 August, 2004, 16:54 GMT 17:54 UK
Policeman accuses Gujarat BJP
Godhra train
Fifty-eight Hindu activists were killed in the attack
Politicians in the state of Gujarat prevented Indian police from carrying out their duties during religious riots in 2002, a senior policeman has said.

RB Sreekumar said that members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat made the police feel handicapped during Hindu-Muslim clashes.

He made his comments to a two-member panel investigating the riots.

More than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in the riots nearly 60 Hindus died in a train blaze.

The policeman did not name any BJP leader, saying that it could expose his sources if he were to do so.

Remedial action

Mr Sreekumar told the two-member investigating panel that some police officers felt helpless, because instructions from some BJP leaders prevented them from carrying out their duties during the riots.

Higher level police officials felt helpless (in pursuing proper investigations) as investigating officers took orders from leaders of the ruling party
RB Sreekumar

He told the commission that remedial action was only taken by the police only in May, while the violence took place in February.

The riots were sparked off after an alleged attack by Muslims on a train carrying Hindu activists.

Fifty-eight people were killed in the attack which took place in the town of Godhra.

'Belligerent mood'

The incident led to riots in Gujarat in which more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed.

Godhra train
Violence engulfed the state for weeks

Mr Sreekumar also said the railway police informed the Gujarat government about a possible attack on the train carrying the Hindus.

The police officer also repeatedly referred to a report sent by him to the government in April 2002 which, he said, mentioned the belligerent mood prevalent among the Muslims because of the riots.

He said that he had written a letter to senior police officers warning them about the possibility of attacks on Hindu religious places and cultural centres.

Mr Sreekumar said when no attention was paid to his warning, he followed it up with a formal departmental letter.

The lawyer representing the riot victims, Mukul Sinha, said the Godhra attack could have been prevented had the government given protection to them.

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