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Why was Article 355 not invoked during Gujarat riots: Ex-VP Ansari

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Referring to the 2002 riots, former vice Hamid Saturday asked why was Article 355 of the Constitution not invoked by the then even when its was on the spot.

made the remarks during the launch of a book -- 'The Sarkari Mussalman' by Lt Gen. (retd) Zameer Uddin Shah, who had led the Division that quelled the riots in the state.

The former vice also said there were "no military solutions to insurgency" as normalcy can be restored only by winning the hearts and minds of people.

"'The initial reaction of the civil administration was tardy; curfew had been ordered but not enforced; no attempt were made to convene peace committees and attitude of police was partisan'," quoted some of the observations from Shah's book on the riots.

But, the former vice observed, that the book was silent "about the role of the political leadership".

"If the civil and police administration fails to respond to a massive failure of law and order, where does the responsibility rests in a democratic and parliamentary system," he asked.

"Why was Article 355 of the Constitution that makes it a duty of the Union to protect a state against internal disturbance not invoked even when the Centre had the benefit of Raksha Mantri on the spot?" he asked.

Article 355 pertains to 'duty of the Union to protect states against external aggression and internal disturbance'.

The reportage of happenings in the national and international media was extensive and even the NHRC took note of it, he said.

"In an interview to a Malayalam weekly in 2005, former president K R Narayanan had revealed his remonstrations with the government and observed, and I quote (Narayanan) -- 'Military was sent but not given the power to shoot. And, there was a conspiracy involving the central and the behind the Gujarat riots'," he said.

The book has kicked up a controversy, alleging that transport and other logistics support "arrived a day later" for the troops that had landed in Ahmedabad after communal riots broke out in the state.

Lt Gen. Shah, at the function, said he had met then Gujarat and then at the CM's residence at 2 AM on March 1 and sought transport and logistics support.

"But, the transport rolled in only on March 2," he alleged, adding "hundreds of officers from my formation can speak on that, and there are war diaries of the battalion".

However, Jasim Mohammad, for Muslim Studies and Analysis, Aligarh, has countered the claims made by Shah in his book about the role of the then

"Shah's claims in the book about the then is wrong. He had met in March 2016, where I was also present and had praised Modi for providing support to the in 2002 as the chief minister," Mohammad claimed, adding, "how can these both things be true a the same time".

On Friday, Mohammad had even written a letter to Ansari, urging him not to attend the book release function.

The event at the International Centre was also attended by Shah's brother and

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, October 13 2018. 23:30 IST