New Delhi: On November 19, the Supreme Court is set to hear the plea of Zakia Jafri challenging the acquittal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in relation to the Godhra riots. The petitioner’s husband was a former Congress MP, who was killed during the Gulberg society massacre back in 2002.
The matter was listed for further hearing by a bench comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and Deepak Gupta, who mentioned that the bench still had to go through the details of the petition.
On February 28, 2002, Zakia’s husband, Ehsan Jafri along with 68 others were assassinated during an attack at the Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad. The Godhra train massacre was the inception of widespread communal riots in the State and the Gulberg assassination is an example of the public outrage based on religion. The Gulberg Society attack lasted for about six hours, wherein people were dragged out of their homes, hacked and burned to death.
A closure report by the Special Investigation Team dated February 8, 2012, ruled out the possibility of “prosecutable evidence”. Thereafter, a Metropolitan Court based on the findings by the SIT drew the conclusion that the case lacked sufficient and valid evidence against the accused persons and thereafter, acquitted the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi and other politicians along with a few senior officials from the riots case.
Subsequently in 2013, the petitioner then moved the High Court challenging the order for acquittal by the Metropolitan Court. Through the petition, Zakia not only challenged the acquittal but also raised allegations on the accused persons by stating that certain cases including the Gulberg riot were in fact a part of a “larger conspiracy”. However, the Gujarat High Court dismissed her contentions and upheld the previous Court order.
Although, the High Court dismissed Zakia’s plea, she was permitted to demand for a fresh probe into the matter.
It is pertinent to note that there were two reports filed by the SIT, one in 2010 and the other one in 2012. However, upon examination, critics on both sides have found discrepancies in the two reports. One of the most glaring ambiguity being that the findings of the report dated 2010 stated that the then Chief Minister had a crucial role to play in the Godhra riots. However, the subsequent report was in complete contradiction and granted a clean chit to Modi in the matter.