2002 Gujarat riots: Despite request to Modi, Army lost crucial day without vehicles, says retired Lt. General

Defence National Politics

NEW DELHI: On the intervening night of February 28 and March 1, 2002 Gujarat riots when Gujarat was engulfed in flames, Lt. Gen Zameer Uddin Shah, met the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi, in the presence of the then Defence Minister George Fernandes and gave the then CM Narendra Modi list of immediate requirements to enable the Army columns to fan out to restore law and order.

But the 3,000 troops that had landed at the Ahmedabad airfield at 7 am on March 1, had to wait for a day before the Gujarat administration provided the transport during which period hundreds of people were killed.

These were crucial hours lost,” Shah, who retired as the Deputy Chief of Army Staff, has revealed in his upcoming memoir titled “The Sarkari Mussalman” (Konark Publishers) to be launched by former Vice President Hamid Ansari on October 13 at India International Centre here.

“The crucial periods was the night of 28th February and the 1st of March. This is when the maximum damage was done. I met the chief minister at 2 am on the 1st morning. The troops sat on the airfield all through the 1st of March and we got the transport only on the 2nd of March. By then the mayhem had already been done,” Shah, who has been conferred Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal and Sena Medal for his services to the armed forces, told.

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