Rajiv Shah, 23 Feb, 2007, TIMES NEWS NETWORK
GANDHINAGAR: Few can forget her picture in the charred S-6 coach — saree tucked in and shock on her face.
An IAS officer, Jayanthi Ravi, was the Panchmahals district collector when 59 persons,many of them Vishwa Hindu Parishad workers returning from Ayodhya, on the Sabarmati Express were charred to death in the S-6 blaze.
Though the incident spurred communal riots in the rest of the state, killing over 1,000 persons, Ravi's timely intervention ensured things did not get out of hand in Godhra.
Ravi, along with then Godhra superintendent of police Raju Bhargav, dealt sternly with the rioters in the district.
Significantly, BJP MP from Godhra, Bhupendrasinh Solanki,went to the extent of accusing the district administration of "bias" in arresting some 250 Sangh Parivar activists in the district. She paid for it.
Soon after Bhargav's transfer, in July 2002, Ravi was sent packing to Gandhinagar as midday meal scheme commissioner, a sidelined posting.
The soft-spoken Ravi always kept a low profile. On July 26, 2004, two months after the UPA government came to power, Congress president Sonia Gandhi picked Ravi for her core team.
She was chosen director of the high-profile National Advisory Council, Delhi, chaired by Gandhi. When in Delhi, she gave a critical deposition before the Justice Banerjee Commission inquiring into the Sabarmati train burning incident early last year.
She was the only IAS officer to depose before this commission, a move seen as gutsy among bureaucrats here who did not dare to testify before a commission that had been spurned by the Modi government.
Sources say she broke down before the commission during her testimony. Later in July last year, she went on deputation to the US for training in public administration. She is expected to return to India six months from now. What fate awaits her, only time will.