Gujarat Files is a series of episodes and documentation of stings conducted by Tehelka’s investigative journalist Rana Ayyub. But before we dive deep into the book, it is very important for you to know who Rana Ayyub is and how did she manage to perform sting operations on such high-profile police officials without being caught. Ayyub stayed undercover for almost six months with a fake identity of Maithili, who is making a documentary on Gujarat and the humble and prominent figures of the society.
While I was making up my mind to whether to go or not for this book, I assumed that it would be one of the most controversial books of the time, ever written on Gujarat Riots and the alleged role of our current Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his close confidant Amit Shah, in the violence. However, the book talks less about the Gujarat Riots and more about the fake encounters of Sohrabbudin and his wife, Ishrat Jahan and many other hyped cases where several policemen were under the CBI Lens.
The book talks about how Modi and Amit Shah have spread favoritism in the state while giving important positions in the police department to those who belongs to upper caste and would happily take orders from the Home Ministry, which was handled by Amit Shah at that time (around 2002) and transferring the rebellions to a low-key department as a punishment. According to Ayyub’s account, most of the police officials opened up about the involvement of Shah in fake encounters case and admitted that it is being done with permission from then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Ayyub has also made sensational claims about how Modi asked the police department to not to act against Hindu rioters and not to save Muslim leaders. However, no such proof or evidence has been presented in the book. Though the news is making round that she is going to file a PIL against Modi for reinvestigation of Gujarat Riots, so far nothing concrete has come out from her side except few genuine stings that convince you that there was something seriously wrong in the state’s system during Modi’s reign.
One needs to take out time to applaud Ayyub for such brave step and self-publishing the book at a time when honest journalism is at stake and there are hardly any mainstream news channels that are interested in talking about the odds of the past. The book was well received by critics and experts at a global forum for the kind of investigative reporting done by the author. Rana Ayyub deserves a pat on her back for the courageous streak!
Read this book if you want to know what brave journalism actually means. Also, the book has been translated into various regional languages. Pick any you like here- Gujarat Files