Photo Credit: Sam Panthaky/AFP
The quiet steel in Zakia Jafri’s eyes hasn’t dimmed despite her 76 years, nor has her quest for justice. Around 13 years after her husband, former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, and 68 of their neighbours in Ahmedabad’s Gulberg Society were killed by a mob, her legal battle over the massacre continues to haunt Narendra Modi despite his ascendance from chief ministership to prime ministership.
Zakia Jafri is unwilling to give up even after an Ahmedabad metropolitan court’s verdict on December 26, 2013, rejected her protest petition seeking to penalise Modi, who was then the chief minister, and 59 others on charges of state-sponsored criminal conspiracy during the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat that killed over a thousand people, mostly Muslims. She has filed a criminal revision application in the Gujarat High Court. The hearings began on August 4.
The application has sought the court’s directive to reject the closure report of the Special Investigation Team of February 8, 2012. While some have interpreted this to mean that Modi has been given a clean chit, in reality the SIT said it did not have enough evidence against Modi to proceed. Her protest petition in April 2013 is the last criminal case in the 2002 communal carnage in Gujarat in which Modi has been accused.
The 540-page criminal revision application offers substantive arguments and a mountain of evidence to reject Metropolitan Magistrate BJ Ganatra’s orders. It accuses the SIT of adopting a “double faced” role after the Supreme Court, which was earlier monitoring the investigation, handed it over to the Ahmedabad Crime Branch.