Misra Commission Report
DELHI CHAPTER – 7
DELAY IN CALLING THE ARMY
General A.S. Vaidya, Chief of the Army Staff at the time of the riots has told the Commission that before he had any information from the GOC, Delhi Area, about civil administration alerting the Army of his own accord he had told the GOC that he had his consent and direction to extend necessary assistance immediately as and when asked for, as the General was apprehensive that an emergent situation might arise when he came to learn about Smt. Gandhi being shot by two of her guards. According to him , by about 10.30 a.m. on October 31, 1984, he had directed a Brigade from Meerut to be moved to Delhi and this Brigade had reached Delhi before midnight of October 31. This Brigade had 1600 fighting officers and jawans. At Delhi the usual Army strength is one Infantry Brigade, one Artillery Brigade and the available strength of Rajputana Rifles Regimental Training Centre. In his view the total of these three groups would be somewhere between 5500 and 6000 strong. Maj. Gen. J.S. Jamwal, GOC Delhi Area, has told the Commission that he had at his disposal at the relevant time a full Brigade, a Regimental Centre, an Engineering Regiment, two Regiments of Artillery. The actual number available was 6100 : 3000 jawans were available for field duty and 3100 were used for controlling movements at Teenmurti Bhavan where the body of the late Prime Minister was lying in state and arrangement from Teenmurti Bhavan to Shakti Sthal where Smt.Gandhi was to be cremated. The statement of Police Commissioner Tandon that adequate Army personnel were not available in Delhi has turned out to be without basis. There is no reasons to disbelieve Gen. Vaidya’s statement that by the midnight of October 31, 1984, one Brigade from Meerut was already at Delhi. Thus, at least 5000 fighting Armymen were available by October 31 midnight.
On October 31 itself Shri Rajiv Gandhi after being sworn in as Prime Minister reviewed the situation in Delhi and left instructions that the Army may be alerted, and, if necessary, called in. It is the statement of almost every officer examined by the Commission that the Army had been alerted during the day on October 31, 1984.
Additional Commissioner Kaul has stated :
“ The Delhi Police were not in a position to match the challenging task that followed the assassination of Mrs. Gandhi. This was the first time that Delhi Police had to face such a challenge for the entire Union Territory.”
Lt. Governor Gavai stated that in the early morning of November 1, he was apprehensive that the situation may worsen and had advised the Commissioner of Police that the Army may be called. It is at that point of time that the Commissioner of Police wanted a personal assessment to be made of the situation by moving around. This took quite some time. The withholding of information regarding the incidents happening in the different parts of Delhi by the police officers and inadequacy of briefing at the Police Control Room and in decision – making offices obviously delayed the move of the civil administration in calling in the Army for assistance. If the Army had been called in the morning of November 1, 1984 — and by then about 5,000 Army people were at Delhi– the position would certainly not have been as bad as it turned out to be. 5,000 Army jawans divided into columns and moving into the streets properly armed would not have brought about the death of at least 2,000 people. The Government as also the Chief of the Army Staff had already given clearance for the Army being called and the delay in taking the decision and making the requisition was of the Delhi Administration — squarely of the Lt. Governor and the Commissioner of Police. And this again is related to the fact that there was no feed back of incidents by the Station House Officers.