Ahmedabad, Nov. 27: A Gujarat court has ruled that Zakia Jafri, who had sought investigation against Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots, has lost the right to file a protest petition against the special investigation team’s closure report giving a clean chit to the chief minister.
Metropolitan magistrate B.J. Ganatra observed that Zakia, the wife of Congress leader Ehsaan Jafri who was burnt alive by a mob in February 2002 in his house along with 68 others, had failed to file the petition despite several extensions and that the court could not give her unlimited time.
Zakia could not be reached for comment because she is visiting her daughter Nashrin in the US, but her son Tanvir said the ruling was shocking. “We are going to challenge it in the Supreme Court,” he said.
The metropolitan court’s order says: “Zakia Jafri cannot file protest petition against SIT report due to lapse of time….”
Zakia’s lawyer S.M. Vohra contended that she had informed the court earlier that she had sought a clarification from the Supreme Court and needed time to file her petition. The Supreme Court had listed the special leave petition for hearing on December 3, he said.
“Now we will put the certified copy of today’s court order before the Supreme Court to challenge it,” Vohra said. “Protest petition is our right” and “we will fight for it”, he said.
Zakia had sought a clarification from the Supreme Court whether the Gulbarg massacre case, in which her husband was killed and Modi himself is a suspect, is the result of a larger conspiracy, the lawyer said. She had sought time from the local court till the Supreme Court gave its decision, he added.
The Supreme Court had sent the SIT’s report on the Gulbarg case to a local court last year in September, he said. The investigating agency appointed by the apex court took six months to file a closure report.
“But when it comes to the riot victims to file protest petition, we are not given time, we are denied that right,” Tanvir said, calling this “undemocratic”.
In 2008, the Supreme Court had set up the SIT to look into nine riot cases, including Zakia’s petition on the Gulbarg massacre.
Ehsaan Jafri and 68 others were killed by a mob at Gulbarg housing society, where the Jafris lived, on February 28, 2002. In her complaint, Zakia had named Modi as prime accused and wanted him to be called for deposition.
She alleged that the chief minister and several senior ministers and officials did nothing to prevent the killings despite several frantic calls Jafri made to the police and even to the chief minister’s office for help when the mob attacked the housing society.
In February this year, the SIT gave a clean chit to Modi, saying it had found no evidence against him and 61 other accused in the case.