Nation shut its eyes and ears, lament children on Sanjiv Bhatt’s 57th birthday

On the former IPS officer’s 57th birthday, his children Aakashi and Shantanu Bhatt lament that people have looked the other way while their father is paying the price for standing up to fascists

Nation shut its eyes and ears, lament children on Sanjiv Bhatt’s 57th birthday

NH Web Desk

Sanjiv Bhatt, the former IPS officer of the Gujarat cadre, has been in prison for the past two years, three months and 17 days for an alleged custodial death in the mid-nineties. He is the only IPS officer to have been convicted so far for custodial death.

The NCRB data maintains that 1731 deaths in custody were recorded in 2019, 125 of them in police custody and the rest in judicial custody. The case against Sanjiv Bhatt is widely believed to be flimsy but ever since he deposed against the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi for his role in the Gujarat riots in 2002, he was targeted by the state. The custodial death case against him was revived after he resigned from the IPS.

"This is what a typical morning of 21st December has always been like at home" , wrote Aakashi & Shantanu Bhatt, children of Sanjiv Bhatt on Monday morning:

Early morning alarms blaring off, two sets of feet tip toeing around the house arranging flowers, decorations and gifts, air filled with the sweet and buttery scent of baked goodies, last minute frantic wrapping of gifts - a home filled with happiness, echoing laughter, warmth and abundance of love … Today, however, instead of laughter, our home is steeped in deafening silence, the morning, instead of being filled with giddy anticipation of waking dad up to another amazing year, to gifts, flowers, cake and breakfast … is filled with a nauseating sense of helplessness as yet another year stares us in the face, of dad being away from us.

Today, on our father, Sanjiv Bhatt’s 57th birthday, before addressing him, we would like to address the citizens of this country which we call our own – Today it has been 2 years 3 months and 17 days since an upright officer was vindictively incarcerated in a fabricated case to silence his voice of truth and honesty, a voice that displayed unwavering courage to stand up to this fascist regime.

An example was made of an upright officer, and you, the people of this nation stood in silence. He was incessantly targeted and victimised, and the nation looked the other way. His home was broken down, and the nation shut its eyes and ears. He was falsely framed and vindictively incarcerated in a fabricated case, ripping him away from his family, sentenced to languish behind bars for a crime he did not commit, and the nation still watched as silent spectators …

Our father, Mr Sanjiv Bhatt stood up to this totalitarian regime at great personal and professional cost, and today, he is paying the heavy price for being, honest, upright and courageous.

As our father spends yet another year incarcerated for a crime he did not commit, his only crime that he did not buckle under political pressure and vindictive victimisation; I implore you all, to be the citizens, the nation that our father believes exists.


Today on your 57th birthday, we wish that instead of writing to you from afar, we would have been celebrating together in the warmth and peace of our home. We may have been torn apart by excuse of men, who have never and will never know what love, family, honesty and integrity is. They may exalt in ripping us apart, but what would men like these understand, that the four of us can be kept physically apart, but we are never separated from one another, for you, reside in our very being, our every heartbeat, and we in yours; that you are our strength and the three of us, your unwavering resolute pillars of support. These lumpen elements believe that they can break you, little do they know, that they haven’t even scratched the surface of your tenacious strength. You, dad, are made up of strength, rigour and courage that are incomprehensible.

Today, on your 57th birthday, we wish you the world, for you deserve nothing less, but most importantly, I wish that India lives up to the idea of what you are fighting for; we wish for this country, the citizens of this country to rise up and be what you deserve.

You, Dad, are our hero, our pride!

Please know, that you have never been and will never be alone, for now, your family doesn’t just comprise of the three of us, but also of tens and thousands of people all across the world, who love you, respect you and continue to stand by you in our fight for justice.

It is our belief and resolve that this time, next year, you will be here with us, celebrating your birthday and the nation we all knew could and finally did exist.

We love you more than you can ever imagine!

Yours and only yours, Aakashi & Shantanu

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