The High Price of Conscience



As much at ease reciting from scriptures of the world’s major religions as quoting chapter and verse from the Indian Constitution and Indian laws, former DGP RB Sreekumar of Gujarat, the first and most critical whistleblower exposing high level state complicity behind the carnage of 2002, speaks to Communalism Combat-Newsclick about the fresh challenges he faces.

September 12, 2015








As much at ease reciting from the scriptures of the world’s major religions as quoting chapter and verse from the Indian Constitution, Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure, RB Sreekumar a 1971 batch IPS officer remains one of the key whistleblowers blowing the lid of high level state complicity behind the Gujarat carnage of 2002. At the receiving end of state-driven vendetta that threatens his post retirement benefits, Sreekumar, in an exclusive interview to Communalism Combat-Newsclick and speaks of the significance of his bearing witness to the pogrom of 2002.


Sreekumar was ADGP State Intelligence Bureau Gujarat between April and September 2002, a critical period during which he was witness to deliberate inaction in the high echelons of power and subversion of the criminal justice system at the highest level. His actions during the communal carnage of 2002 were driven by conscience and a deep commitment to the rule of law, making him, as some others not just a thorn in the leash for the Modi regime but it’s bęte noir. He speaks to Newsclick-Communalism Combat about the cost of telling the truth in the public domain under the current Regime.


Seven days after he took over as ADGP, Intelligence, Sreekumar recommended stringent action against a slew of virulent pamphlets circulated in their thousands by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). His view, as that of other senior policemen in Gujarat was blithely ignored by the home department headed by the then chief minister Modi. Thereafter, on four occasions, i.e. on 24.4.2002, 15.6.2002, 20.8.2002 and 28.8.2002 he sent four Confidential reports to the state government recommending stringent measures to restore public confidence in the law and order machinery. These too were ignored. His independent report to chief election commissioner, James Lyndoh in August 2002 poked holes in the myth of ‘normalcy’ being propagated by the regime. His final act of exactitude that earned him his transfer was responding to the request of the National Minorities Commission (NCM) and sending a transcript of Modi’s speech at Becharaji, Mehsana on 9.9.2002. His aide memoir,  a confidential register maintained between April and September 2002, is a record of the illegal instructions issued by his superiors. The Raghavan-dominated SIT failed to independently investigate the evidence that this officer provided with any probity.


Along with other officers like Rahul Sharma (now a lawyer having sought voluntary retirement) and Sanjiv Bhatt (Recently sacked from service), he has paid the price for standing by his conscience. Other officers who protected lives and properties have been similarly sidelined even as the collaborators in the services (IAS and IPS) hold high positions today.


RB Sreekumar also holds a Masters Degree in History. After he was appointed to the Gujarar cadre in 1971, he was at various times, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Deputy Inspector General, Deputy Director General DIG (Central Investigation Bureau), Joint Director (IG), and Additional Director General of Police. In 1999, under NDA I, he was even  awarded the President’s medal for meritorious service. Today he is in the news once more as he prepares to move the Supreme Court of India after the Gujarat High Court (on September 4. 2015) has dealt him, and free Constitutional speech, a body blow.