In two separate anti-terrorism mock drills conducted by Gujarat police, Muslims have been profiled as being terrorists. Ahead of two major events – the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas and the Vibrant Gujarat Investors Summit – to be held in Gujarat, the police portrayed Muslims as terrorists while conducting mock anti-terror drills across the state following intelligence reports that the events could be targeted by terrorists.
In Dabhari near Olpad in Surat, the Gujarat police carried out the mock drill by making persons wearing the skull cap – identified with devout Muslims – pose as terrorists. The mock drill was shown in a video, which appeared in the media on Wednesday (Dec 31st). It showed three persons posing as dummy terrorists wearing the skull cap. They were shown as being “captured alive” by five policemen, made to lie down on the ground while policemen kept watch and then finally taken away in a police vehicle.
According to Superintendent of Police, Surat (Rural), Mr Pradip Shejul, the incident was “avoidable”, but should be taken as a “pretty normal thing”. He said, “we have been conducting mock drills at several locations to check the preparedness ahead of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit. Today, it was held in a coastal location where a policeman posing as a terrorist was wearing a skullcap.” He added that the intention was not to stereotype any community.
The incident came under heavy criticism. The Congress attacked the state government for alleged deliberate profiling of Muslims as terrorists by the Gujarat police and said it was an administrative failure. The Gujarat BJP Minority Cell also objected to the incident. “Even real terrorists do not come wearing a skull cap. Police should take care and not relate terrorism to followers of any religion. I will investigate the issue personally,” said Gujarat BJP minority cell president Mehboob Ali Chishti. The Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel apologized on Thursday (Jan 1st) for the ´mistake´ of the state police.
However, another video of an anti-terror mock drill in Kevadia area of Narmada district which came to light on Thursday shows dummy terrorists shouting “take our lives, if you want. Islam Zindabad (long live Islam)”. This latest video shows cops holding two men playing the part of terrorists at the site of the Narmada dam and the men were shouting “take our lives, if you want. Islam Zindabad (long live Islam)”.
Replying to queries from media persons, Superintendent of Police, Narmada, Mr Jaypal Sinh Rathore said, “I came to know about this incident (of projecting terrorists as Muslims) through media. If such an incident has happened, we will conduct an inquiry and take necessary actions against those responsible.” According to him the drill was a routine police exercise conducted a week ago in the Kevadia area.