Gujarat Files- A disappointing Autopsy Of the Government

Sofiya Shahiwala

Sofiya Shahiwala

Writing Intern at Perennial Publications LLP
Sofiya Shahiwala is a young undergraduate in English who excels at multiple levels. At such a tender age she is also a tutor of english language as well as a published writer. One of our youngest interns, she has made her mark with her writing skills and work ethics.
Sofiya Shahiwala
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A lot of books tend to change our outlook on politics, science or life as a whole. One such phenomenal book called ‘Gujarat Files’ by Rana Ayyub is a must-read for anyone who’s interested in politics and journalism.


Gujarat Files- Anatomy Of A Cover-Up, is the account of an 8-month long investigation where the author/journalist, Rana Ayyub disguised herself as an American Film Maker named Maithili and interviewed high-class officers and politicians with cameras and recorders attached to her outfit while being undercover.

This book exposes the fake encounters and riot controversies that took place in between 2001-2010. The book is basically filled with transcripts which reveal the crime, the officials purportedly committed against humanity.

Although the video and audio recordings aren’t published yet, Ayyub claims to have sent them to various publishing houses but they refused to publish its contents. The tapes yet remain untested by forensic labs.

There are several chapters of the book that purportedly shock and awe the reader,  It talks about Mufti Sufiyan and the murder of Haren Pandya. Haren Pandya was the arch rival of Mr. Narendra Modi, the then Chief Minister of Gujrat and at that time was most likely to become the next Chief Minister.

In one chapter, Y.A. Shaikh talks about this murder saying:

“You know this Haren Pandya case is like a volcano. Once the truth is out, Modi will go home. He will be jailed, not go home. He will be in prison.”

Also, Police Officer Daya Nayak talks about the same,

“The biggest political murder in the country had happened in Gujarat, that of Haren Pandya, Modi’s arch rival.”

The book ends abruptly but not without portraying a dark side of the political world, which may look calm at the surface but is a tumultuous tempest with deep, dark, murky secrets hidden in the depths.

The Reaction

This being said, after the release of the book, it was met with silence from the political side. Those who were featured in the operation have remained tight-lipped, which include Ashok Narayan, K. Chakravarthi, P.C Pande and many more officers and leaders. The ruling party of Gujrat during and after the time of the riots and  now the nation has inconspicuously remained silent over this whole matter and has asked for no validation.

“If these transcripts are validated, they could present serious legal and ethical repercussions about Shah’s use of the State police force as his personal assassination squad and the bureaucracy as his fief,”

-Suchitra Vijayan for The Hindu.

Talking about the reactions after the book was released, only 3 hours after the book was live on Amazon, it had more than 200 negative comments.

Even after the hate comments, The book became a bestseller and has been translated into many languages.

Further Controversy

Late Gauri Lakesh, an eminent journalist who had translated Gujarat Files into Kannada Language was murdered outside her house by 3 unrecognized men.

Rana has herself received a lot of hate comments, threats and criticism. In contrast, as an extraordinary move, five United Nations special rapporteurs had signed a statement to make the Indian Government guarantee her safety; but there was still no word or action from the government.

Wrapping Up…

The book, all in all, is a great exposure to anyone who has had a blind faith on the government. Fear, a sense of insecurity and a looming disappointment develops after reading such a strong work. It may have been criticised by many but journalists have a massive respect towards Rana for risking much of her life in exposing a darkly veiled crime which is still in the shadows. We, in India, need to get a hold on ourselves and develop the strength to make a change. That’s how you can make a better place for you and for me and the entire society. That is perhaps the sole intention of such books.

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