Ex-bureaucrat speaks out on Gujarat riots

Ex-bureaucrat speaks out on Gujarat riots

The ghost of the 2002 riots continues to raise its ugly head despite the passage of over a decade.

The latest is in the form of a book on the experiences of respected Gujarat-cadre retired IAS officer Alexander K Luke.

In his 365-page book “Passport to Gujarat: Hazardous Journeys”, released recently, Luke recalls the days after the Gujarat riots in 2002. He appears to put the onus of the administrative collapse during the events more on his colleagues in the bureaucracy and the police than solely on then chief minister and current Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Luke writes, “No chief minister of a state, no matter how angry, would be happy to see murderous disorder on the streets, particularly when he had just taken over. Many party functionaries descended to the level of those who had set the train on fire.”

He goes on to say that the Gujarat bloodbath of 2002 “could have been blunted if the top authorities in the government had taken matters into their own hands and re-established law and order without listening to those who were emotionally unbalanced at that time”.

Despite writing on the post-riot developments, Luke maintains that his book is primarily about the turnaround of PSUs, and has nothing to do with politics.

Recalling the initial three days of riots, Luke writes that he had approached the then state chief secretary G Subbarao with an offer of his services for relief camps being set up for the victims of violence.

Luke writes that Subbaraotold him running relief camps “was not a high priority for the government”.

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