A month after senior Gujarat police officer Sanjiv Bhatt was sentenced to life imprisonment in a 1990 custodial death case, his wife met Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala today to seek their support in her "fight against injustice".
Shweta Bhatt said she had come down to Kerala to secure the backing of the two leaders, so she could effectively counter the "political vendetta" being unleashed against her husband. "I have come here to seek support. My husband is a victim of political vendetta. I need the support of everybody from parliamentarians and lawmakers to the general public for fighting my case. I have requested the Chief Minister to speak to his counterparts in other states," she told NDTV.
Sanjiv Bhatt has had several run-ins with the BJP in the past. He even accused the then Gujarat administration of being complicit in the communal riots of 2002, a charge rejected by the courts.
Both Pinarayi Vijayan and Ramesh Chennithala assured all possible help from their end. "We will give every kind of support to the wife of IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who has been falsely implicated and jailed by the BJP government. We will also reach out to like-minded chief ministers and political leaders, such as Arvind Kejriwal, HD Deve Gowda and MK Stalin, on the matter. We will try and unite parliamentarians from Kerala on this issue too," the Chief Minister said.
Ramesh Chennithala, on the other hand, described Shwetha Bhatt's cause as "everybody's fight against fascism". "Even while taking this fight forward legally by petitioning to the High Court, she needs support from the public and everybody standing for justice. I have assured her all help," he told mediapersons after meeting the jailed police officer's wife.
The Jamnagar Sessions Court had sentenced the former Gujarat-cadre IPS officer to life imprisonment in the 1990 case last month. The youth wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) -- the Democratic Youth Federation of India -- has announced a social campaign in support of Sanjiv Bhatt from July 26.
Shweta Bhatt claimed that there wasn't a single act carried out by her husband that deserved a punishment as severe as life imprisonment. "In the case dating back to the riots of October 30, 1990, not a single person was arrested by my husband. As many as 133 rioters were arrested by the local police, and not even one was in his custody. He is a victim of political vendetta. I will fight this legally, but I still need all possible support," she said.
Sanjiv Bhatt was arrested along with six other policemen after the brother of the victim, Prabhudas Vaishnani, named them in the case. They were accused of torturing him in custody.
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