Haresh Bhatt was a Bajrang Dal leader at the time of the Gujarat violence of 2002. According to an eye witness, Bhatt distributed weapons to villagers in Sardarpura before a massacre where 33 Muslims were later killed. Following the violence, he was later elected as BJP representative from Godhra in the legislative assembly, saying "clearly, it was the Hindutva card that worked in our favour".

Caught on hidden camera by Tehelka, Bhatt claimed that Narendra Modi gave the perpetrators of the violence in 2002 a free hand for three days: "Modi told me I'll give you three days. Do whatever you want, you will not be touched."