minister hid like a Rat’
By Ajmer Singh
you ask Rajiv Gandhi about the need to deploy the army?
Yes, I did. Why the hell did I go to him — to impress upon this
only. After that the only thing we could do was to approach the home ministry
under which the police really works.
What was Rajiv’s reaction when you asked him to deploy the
What do I tell you now about my meet with Rajiv? Jagdish Tytler and Dharam
Dass Shastri were sitting there. He told me there was a delay in summoning
the army. I told him I don’t want to argue with you, you are grieving.
But I know what the outcome will be.
Does that mean some people ganged up against you?
All these people, Tytler, Shastri, ganged up against me. They had poisoned
Rajiv’s ears about my handling of the situation. What force does
a lieutenant governor have? Tytler couldn’t tolerate that a dalit
had become a lieutenant governor. I was told ‘Gavai this man is
working against you’.
Who do you think is responsible for this?
In a broad way I am trying to share my feelings with you. Home minister
chuhe ki tarah chupey rahe. Mujhe hidayat di, log phans gayen hain aap
zara madad kariye, mere dost hain. Par uske siwaye koi madad nahin. Yeh
kya batana chahte hain? Yeh sab chor log, bole saale ko scapegoat banao
na (The home secretary hid like a rat. No, no, the home minister hid like
a rat. He asked me to help his friends. The others did not matter. These
rogues have made me a scapegoat).
Was Narasimha Rao hiding like a rat?
Yes, out of sheer fear. He was hiding like a rat.
Who else was responsible?
Jamwal. Yes, he refused to meet the police commissioner. He wanted to
meet me. But, I told him not to waste time and act immediately. These
are the two people who should have met. I had asked Tandon about deploying
the army. When I complained about the army to Gen Vaidya, he said casually
that these things take time.
You had earlier talked about a meeting.
This meeting was convened by Dr PC Alexander. A lot of time was wasted.
In the meeting also, I told them about deploying the army. Everyone agreed
But Alexander has denied such a meeting.
Yes, I know. But he presided over the meeting. The home minister was also
there. I was asked to go on leave. In exchange, I was offered the chairmanship
of UPSC. I told him in such circumstances a lieutenant governor does not
go on leave but resigns. It is a matter of shame. What was Alexander doing?
Just writing letters. I was left all alone.
You have talked about Narasimha Rao’s role. What about Rajiv’s
They showed to the world that was everything under control. But, the lieutenant
governor was asked to take care of everything.
Did Rajiv leave everything on you?
Rajiv’s advisors were party to this. A lot of time was wasted.
20 , 2005
the Bloody People
CRY FOR US, NBELOVED COUNTRY
by Hartosh Singh Bal.
Photograph by Gauri Gill
felt like a Jew in a Nazi camp’
a man who has already chronicled his death, it isn’t easy looking
back on 1984. Khushwant Singh, the ageing grand old
man of letters, who admits to fading health, took time off for an
interview on the carnage that first made him conscious of being a
Sikh. Excerpts from an interview with Harinder
TRUTH: Feeling and the Unfeeling
politician has been punished for the obvious part they play in organising
these outrages, says KPS GILL
about the big fish?
The Nanavati Commission describes the riots as an organised carnage
but falls short of indicting the political organisers. The government
uses this as an escape route. Ajmer
home minister hid like a rat’
says former LG, Delhi, PG Gavai on 1984 riots in conversation with
tragedy of hope
is a reminder that neither our investigators nor prosecutors are independent
agents, says KTS Tulsi
Ghosts of Mrs Gandhi
out into a perfectly ordinary day, on October 31, 1984, writer Amitav
Ghosh was sucked into the cataclysm that gripped the
country. Writing years later, he rakes through his memories and tries
to make sense
of the violence that followed in this spare and deeply moving essay