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2002 Gujarat riots: Supreme Court upholds clean chit given by SIT to the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others in the Gulberg massacre case

Print edition : Aug 04, 2022 T+T-

2002 Gujarat riots: Supreme Court upholds clean chit given by SIT to the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others in the Gulberg massacre case

Zakia Jafri, the wife of the slain Congress MP Ehsan Jafri.

Zakia Jafri, the wife of the slain Congress MP Ehsan Jafri. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea filed by Zakia Jafri, the wife of the slain MP Ehsan Jafri, challenging the Special Investigation Team’s (SIT) finding that the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi and several others were in the clear regarding charges that they were culpable in a larger conspiracy which triggered the 2002 Gujarat communal violence.

A three-member bench comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and C.T. Ravikumar have, in all likelihood, brought the curtains down on a protracted legal battle led by the 82-year-old Zakia Jafri who was an eyewitness to the brutal murder of her husband in the Gulberg Society massacre, as it is widely known. The Gulberg Society case was one among nine cases investigated by the SIT. Tanveer Jafri, Zakia Jafri’s son who has been helping his mother in the case, told a news agency that he was disappointed with the apex court judgment. He said he was currently on a pilgrimage to Hajj and that on his return the family would decide the next course of action.

Upholding the Ahmedabad Metropolitan Magistrate’s decision to accept the SIT closure report, the Supreme Court said Zakia Jafri’s appeal was “devoid of merits and deserves to be dismissed”. The bench said that as per the material on record, it was unfathomable that a larger conspiracy had been hatched at higher levels as alleged by Zakia Jafri. According to a legal news site, the Supreme Court said: “Suffice it to observe that there is no tittle of material, much less tangible material to support the plea of the appellant that the Godhra incident unfolded on February 27, 2002 and the events which followed, was a pre-planned event owing to the criminal conspiracy hatched at the highest level in the State.” 

In 2006, Zakia Jafri had filed a complaint in the Gujarat courts against Narendra Modi and several others, saying they were complicit in the Gulberg massacre in which her husband was hacked to death. It was based on her complaint that the Supreme Court directed that a SIT be formed. In 2012, the SIT said there was “no prosecutable evidence” and they were giving a clean chit to Modi. Zakia Jafri then filed a protest petition in the Ahmedabad Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court, which was dismissed by the judge. Determined to seek justice, she filed a petition in the Supreme Court in 2018, contesting the clearance given to Modi and others.