Confessions of Babu Bajrangi (Transcript 1)

Babubhai Patel aka Babu Bajrangi being escorted by police.

Bajrangi: My role was as follows: I was the first to start the [Naroda] Patiya operation… We and the local residents were all together. Patiya is just half a kilometre away from my home… I had gone to Godhra when it happened… I could not bear what I saw… The next day, we gave them a fitting reply…

TEHELKA: What were you unable to tolerate in Godhra?

Bajrangi: Any person who saw the Godhra kaand [massacre] would have felt like just killing them at once, hacking them apart… that’s how it was…

TEHELKA: You were there?

Bajrangi: Yes, yes, I was with them… So the Godhra kaand happened and after what I saw, I just came back to Naroda and we took revenge.

TEHELKA: How could you organize it all in such short time?

Bajrangi: Little time… We organized everything that night itself… We mobilised a team of 29 or 30 people… Those who had guns, we went to them that night itself and told them to give us their guns… If anyone refused, I told them I would shoot them the next day, even if they were Hindu… So people agreed to part with whatever cartridges and guns they had… In this way, we collected 23 guns. But nobody died of gunshots… What happened was this: we chased them and were able to scare them into a huge khadda [pit]. There we surrounded them and finished everything off… Then, at 7 o’clock, we announced…

TEHELKA: This was in Patiya? That’s what it’s called, isn’t it?

Bajrangi: Yes, yes, Patiya.

TEHELKA: Please describe the area.

Bajrangi: In Patiya, there is an ST [State Transport] workshop with a huge wall beside it; next to this wall, Patiya begins… Opposite Patiya, there is a masjid and beside it is a sprawlingkhadda… That’s where we killed them all… At 7 o’clock, I called the home minister and also Jaideepbhai [Jaideep Patel, VHP general secretary] and told them how many people had been killed and said that things were now in their hands… I don’t know if they did anything, though… At 2.30 in the morning, an FIR was lodged against me… The FIR said I was there… the police commissioner even issued orders to shoot me at sight…

TEHELKA: Who, Narendrabhai?

Bajrangi: The commissioner ordered…
 
 • • •

Bajrangi: We and the Chharas carried out the Patiya massacre… After that, we all went to jail… People gave us a lot of money after we were jailed… I am rich, so I have no worries, but the Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders didn’t care for those who were poor and had no money. Even from jail I was telling them [the VHP] to look after their families, do something for the accused. They provided for them for some four to six months, after that all help was stopped… They had promised to fight our cases in court… but till today, nobody has done a thing… Pravinbhai [Togadia, VHP international general secretary] had promised this openly… and he had also said that if there were any problems at their home or any loss [he would take care of them]… but no one knows where they put all the money they collected… Nobody was given any money… for five to seven months, they gave rations, but nothing apart from that…

TEHELKA: You were in touch only with Jaideepbhai?

Bajrangi: Only Jaideep was talking to me from the VHP.

TEHELKA: The day the Muslims were killed…

Bajrangi: I spoke to Jaideepbhai 11 or 12 times… aur humne tabiyat se kaata… Haldighati bana di thi [and we killed at will, turned the place into Haldighati]… And I am proud of it, if I get another chance, I will kill even more…

TEHELKA: Where was Jaideepbhai camping then?

Bajrangi: Jaideepbhai was sitting at Dhanwantri, which is Pravinbhai’s dispensary, he was there… in Bapunagar… There he was and I didn’t even tell him that we were going to do this… In Naroda and Naroda Patiya, we didn’t spare a single Muslim shop, we set everything on fire, we set them on fire and killed them… That’s what we did… Up till then, they didn’t know what was happening; when they got to hear of how many had been killed, they got scared…

• • •

Bajrangi: There is a distance of about half a kilometre between Naroda [Patiya] and Naroda Gaon… We did a lot at both places… must have butchered not less than… Then we dumped the corpses into a well… At first, I didn’t talk [This was TEHELKA’s fourth meeting with him.] I thought… Many journalists and all kinds of people and come ask me if I was in the Patiya incident… I tell them I was not involved, I was quite far away admitted in a hospital…

• • •

TEHELKA: Do you know Gordhan Zadaphia has revolted?… During the Patiya massacre, what did he say when you spoke to him?

Bajrangi: I spoke to Gordhan Zadaphia… I told him everything that had happened… He told me to leave Gujarat and go into hiding… I asked what he meant, but he told me to run away and to not ever say anywhere that we had talked…

• • •

TEHELKA: Tell us how it was all done… revolvers… cylinders…

Bajrangi: The cylinders were theirs [the Muslims’]… Whichever house we entered, we just grabbed the cylinder and fired at it, and, dhadak, they exploded… We had guns in any case… I can’t tell you what a good time it was… But four of our activists died in it… No hearing took place even in that…

TEHELKA: Did you climb to the top of a masjid and tie a pig there?

Bajrangi:We rammed an entire tanker into it… the tanker was fully laden… We rammed that tanker inside…

TEHELKA: It was a petrol tanker, no?

Bajrangi: It was diesel… We drove a whole diesel tanker in and then set [the mosque] on fire…

TEHELKA: Meaning, it was the tanker explosion which set Patiya on fire?

Bajrangi: In the masjid…

TEHELKA: In the masjid…

Bajrangi: As for the rest of it, I was in charge at the time… Whatever I wanted to do, I did…

TEHELKA: At the pit, was oil… Those people had gathered there…

Bajrangi: It was a huge pit… You could enter it from one side but you couldn’t climb out at the other end… They were all there together… They started clinging to each other… Even while they were dying, they told each other, you die too, what are you going to be saved for, you die too… so the number of deaths increased.

TEHELKA: Then people poured oil in…

Bajrangi: Oil and burning tyres…

TEHELKA: Where did the oil come from?

Bajrangi: Oh that… We had lots of material with us… we filled lots of jerrycans in advance… From the petrol pump, the night before… Petrol pump owners gave us petrol and diesel for free…

• • •

TEHELKA: Muslims were hacked to pieces…

Bajrangi: Hacked, burnt, set on fire, many things were done… many… We believe in setting them on fire because these bastards say they don’t want to be cremated, they’re afraid of it, they say this and that will happen to them… I have just one wish… one last wish…. Let me be sentenced to death… I don’t want to be incarcerated… I don’t care if I’m hanged… Give me two days before my hanging and I will go and have a field day in Juhapura [a Muslim dominated are], where seven or eight lakh of these people stay… I will finish them off … Let a few more of them die… At least 25–50,000 should die…

TEHELKA: How many witnesses have testified against you?

Bajrangi: Fourteen Muslims and 16 policemen… Out of the 14 Muslims, some have moved to Juhapura… They’ve left Patiya, they don’t have the guts to stay there, defying us… The rest have gone to Karnataka… They got money after all, Rs 7 lakh each… Narendrabhai never said how much they would be given… He announced [the compensation package] then gave out cheques of Rs 20,000 each and that’s where things got stuck… Afterwards, he gave nothing to anyone… But then the Central government supported them…

• • •

Babu Bajrangi was found guilty with thirty one others including Dr. Maya Kodnani and was sentenced to life imprisonment in 31 August 2012.

TEHELKA: In other words, the way [you] have killed will go down in history.

Bajrangi: Arrey hamari FIR me likha gaya hai… ek woh pregnant thi, usko to humne chir diya thha b*******d sala… Unko dikhaya ki kya hota hai… ki hum log ko tumne maara to hum tumko kya pratikaar de sakte hain… hum khichdi kadhi wale nahin hai [It has been written in my FIR… there was this pregnant woman, I slit her open, sisterf****r… Showed them what’s what… what kind of revenge we can take if our people are killed… I am no feeble rice-eater]… didn’t spare anyone… they shouldn’t even be allowed to breed… I say that even today… Whoever they are, women, children, whoever… Nothing to be done with them but cut them down. Thrash them, slash them, burn the bastards… Hindus can be bad… Hindus can be bad, and I’m saying that because, as I see it, Hindus are as wicked as those people are… Many of them wasted time looting… Arrey, [the idea is] don’t keep them alive at all, after that everything is ours…

TEHELKA: And some people also raped…

Bajrangi: No, there were no rapes…

TEHELKA: One or two Chharas may have…

Bajrangi: If some Chharas took some women, that’s a different matter… We were marching in groups… There was no place to rape anyone there… Everyone was on a killing spree… we were killing, hacking… There were lanes where we had to face Muslims… there would be a confrontation, they’d fight back with all their strength…The moment we’d killed a few, we’d move on… In this melée, if some girl was trying to run away and if a Chhara caught her, then that’s another matter… That day, it was like what happened between Pakistan and India… There were bodies everywhere… it was a sight to be seen, but it wasn’t something to be filmed, in case it got into someone’s hands… There was a video-wala there, some mediawala, we set him on fire too… Lots of those miyas [Muslims] deceived us… They’d chant Jai Mata Di and get away… that happened too… they’d put tilaks on their foreheads and shout Jai Shri Ram, Jai Mata Di….

TEHELKA: Tell me how that SRPF [State Reserve Police Force] man saved people?

Bajrangi: There was just one Muslim… some big SRP man… Sayeed…

TEHELKA: He was an officer…

Bajrangi: Yes, he was… All this cutting and killing happened behind the SRP camp… The ones who weren’t in the pit, they ran and got into the SRP compound… The SRP jawans there were driving them away… when the officer came in his vehicle and said take everyone inside… He was in command… an officer… So, lots of people were saved this way… at least 500 were rescued… Otherwise would they have all gone too… The officer was also fired at… He is also a witness against me…

TEHELKA: But then Narendrabhai promoted him and…

Bajrangi: Silenced him… So, there was good work done in Patiya. Today too I am fighting against Muslims and will continue to do so… I have nothing to do with politics… What I say is this: the VHP is an organisation… a Hindu organisation… Our politics should be limited to killing Muslims, beating them up…

TEHELKA: How do you feel after you have killed Muslims…

Bajrangi: Maza aata hai na, saheb [I enjoy it]… I came back after I killed them them, called up the home minister and went to sleep… I felt like Rana Pratap, that I had done something like Maharana Pratap… I’d heard stories about him, but that day I did what he did myself.

(to be continued…)


(Syndicated content from Tehelka, Volume 4 Issue 43, Dated November 3, 2007)