AHMEDABAD: A second video of a police mock drill with dummy terrorists shouting pro-Islamic slogans emerged in Gujarat on Thursday, a day after a similar video from Surat sparked controversy and condemnation. In the video, state police posed as terrorists by wearing skullcaps, equating terrorists with Muslims.
According to an NDTV report, the cops in the second video are shown holding two men posing as terrorists near the Narmada dam in Kevadia, Gujarat. "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," Narmada Superintendent of Police Jaypalsinh Rathore told news agency PTI.
Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel has apologised following a video of police mock drill showing dummy militants shouting pro-Islamic slogan emerged Thursday in Gujarat, a day after controversy erupted over men, playing the part of terrorists, being made to wear skullcaps in a similar exercise in Surat.
Reacting to the Surat episode that came to light on Thursday, CM Patel admitted it as a "mistake" to show people posing as terrorists in the drill in skullcaps.
The latest video is of another anti-terror mock drill at Narmada dam site in Kevadia area of Narmada district. It shows policemen holding two dummy terrorists who were shouting "take our lives, if you want. Islam Zindabad (long live Islam)".
When contacted by PTI, Narmada Superintendent of Police Jaypalsinh Rathore said an inquiry will be conducted into the issue.
"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," he said.
"The mock drill was a routine police exercise which was conducted a week ago in Kevadia area," Rathore added.
As the Surat episode generated controversy and invited criticism from several quarters, including from the chief of Gujarat BJP Minority Cell, Patel told Times Now it is wrong to link religion with terrorism.
"It's wrong to link religion with terrorism. The issue has been resolved and the matter should be put to rest now. The mistake has been rectified," she said.
"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 told The Times of India.
According to the report, B C Thakkar, inspector of the special operations group who was reportedly in charge of the drill, said, "The mock drill participants were asked to wear skull cap just to give them a different look. It was not an intentional move to relate to a specific community."
Meanwhile Pradeep Sejal, the superintendent of police (Surat rural), told The Telegraph that it was "an avoidable mistake that should not have happened" and confirmed that he has ordered an inquiry into the episode.
Sejal told the newspaper that it was possible that the skullcaps were used to differentiate the terrorists from the other police officers but "he made it clear that this wasn't the usual practice."
"When we carried out mock drills in malls, the dummy terrorists wore T-shirts and jeans," Sejal told The Telegraph.
The anti-terror drills were conducted ahead of the two high-profile events being held in the state - Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (January 7 to 9) and Vibrant Gujarat Investors Summit (January 11 to 13) - both in Gandhinagar.
(with PTI inputs)
BEFORE YOU GO
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more informationTrack ballot status
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place