The Indian Herald

The Indian Herald

February 22, 2009

Modi masterstroke: First Muslim DGP in Gujarat

The Gujarat government has posted a Muslim as the Chief of State police. Shabbir Hussain Sheikh replaces former DGP PC Pande, whose role in the post-Godhra riots is under scrutiny.

The Narendra Modi government issued orders to post Shabbir Hussain Sheikh Adam Khanwawala as the head of Gujarat police on Saturday. Though he is the senior most IPS officer in Gujarat, the posting assumes significance as he is the first Muslim ever to head the state police.

Lately Modi has been working hard to change his image of a Hindutva hard-liner and is projecting himself as a development-oriented leader rather than an anti-minority leader. He has been focussing on industry and business and avoiding communal references.

The Modi administration had anticipated that Election Commission would remove Pande from the present post. Outgoing DGP Pande was the Commission of Ahmedabad police when communal carnage in Gujarat had claimed thousands of lives with the City being the worst hit.

Nearly a thousand, mostly Muslims, were brutally killed and burnt to death in the riots when Pande was in-charge of the city police in the year 2002. The massacres like Gulbarg Society, Naroda Patiya and Best Bakery cases had caused outrage across the world.

It was alleged that Pande didn't send police when former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri was surrounded by rioters and ultimately killed along with his family members. Meanwhile, Ahmedabad police commissioner OP Mathur, who is considered close to BJP, has also been shifted.

TIH Bureau

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