2002 Gujarat Riots: PM Modi's Involvement Under Scanner, SC To Hear Plea Against Clean Chit
The Supreme Court on November 19 will hear a plea filed by Zakia Jafri, which challenges the clean chit that was given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other politicians in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots.
SC to hear plea
Zakia Jafri is the widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who was killed in the riots. The Special Investigation Team (SIT) which was looking into the case and a metropolitan court had reportedly given a clean chit to Modi and 58 others – a decision which was upheld by the Gujarat High Court in 2017.
According to The Indian Express, a metropolitan court in 2012 had acquitted all 58 accused in the post-Godhra riots, which resulted in 69 deaths. The metropolitan magistrate had then said, “According to the SIT, no offence has been established against any of the 58 persons listed in Zakia’s complaint.”
Zakia Jafri and Teesta Setalvad’s Citizens for Justice and Peace reportedly filed the petition which challenges both the findings of the SIT and the metropolitan court’s decision.
Ehsan Jafri and 68 others were killed during a mob attack at Muslim-dominated Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad. The attacks were an aftermath of the Godhra train burning incident. The Hindustan Times reported that in 2006, Zakia demanded the police to register a case against Modi and other politicians.
In 2008, the apex court ordered the state government to reinvestigate nine riot cases, which included the Gulberg Society one. In 2009, the top court asked SIT to look into it, who in 2012 looked into Modi’s role and gave a clean chit to him on the grounds that there was no proof of substantiating allegations against him.
The 2002 Gujarat Riots
On February 27, 2002, a coach of Sabarmati Express was set on fire. This resulted in the death of 59 Kar Sevaks and 49 others were injured. At least 2,000 Kar Sevaks, who were returning from Purnahuti Maha Yajna at the insistence of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), were on the train. The Yajna was part of the Ram Temple Building ceremony.
After this incident, VHP called for a statewide bandh the next day. The VHP leaders also spread rumours about Muslims kidnapping three Hindu girls during the attack. Retaliatory attacks began and thus began the Gujarat riots of 2002 wherein total 790 Muslims and 234 Hindus were killed. The trial for the case began in June 2009 with over 134 people who were initially accused in the case. Moreover, two separate panels were also appointed to inquire into the case.
A SIT (Special Investigation Team) court in Ahmedabad on August 27 awarded life imprisonment to two convicts in the 2002 Godhra train burning case. Reportedly, three others were acquitted of their crime.