KOZHIKODE – “When I married Sanjiv 33 years ago, I had promised him that I would stay with him through thick and thin. Help me keep that promise,” Shweta Bhatt said before hundreds of people carrying umbrellas with slogans in support of her husband Sanjiv Bhatt, the IPS officer who was recently sentenced for life by the Jamnagar Special Court in Gujarat.
“The situation in our country is such that rapists, terrorists, and murderers are running it, while honest police officers are being framed,” she was quoted by The Hindu as addressing an ‘umbrella march’ organised by the Muslim Youth League (MYL) in Kozhikode on Friday expressing solidarity with the officer.
Sanjiv Bhatt was handed life-term for a 28-year-old case of custodial death. Human rights activists have pointed out that the man had died, much after he was released from police custody, of renal failure, and that the case was registered 18 days after that. There was no mention of physical violence in his autopsy report.
Ms. Bhatt said her husband was being punished for a crime he had never committed. “My husband was being implicated in a case he was never part of. He did not arrest the young man, nor did he question him,” she added.
“Sanjiv Bhatt served the country with utmost integrity and honour for 27 years, and he was rewarded by vindictive haunting and political victimisation, just because he dared to speak against a fascist regime,” she observed. Mr. Bhatt is known to have deposed before the Nanawati Commission, which probed the Godhra riots, against Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was then Chief Minister of Gujarat.
“Sanjiv spent a larger part of his career for the victims of the Gujarat riots. Now, it is our turn to fight for him,” Ms. Bhatt said. “If this can happen to a highly decorated police officer, it can happen to anyone,” she added. Ms. Bhatt said she was a firm believer in the Indian judiciary and will fight until justice is served to Mr. Bhatt. She was accompanied by her son Shanthanu Bhatt.
Earlier, MYL State president Syed Munavarali Shihab Thangal said the Youth League would be an umbrella to Mr. Bhatt who had been a victim of terrorism of the regime. He added that the party was with all those who had been denied justice, such as Rohit Vemula and Abdunasar Maudani.