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HC nixes Jafri’s plea, gives PM clean chit in Gujarat riots
Rejecting the plea of Congress leader Ehsan Jafri’s widow Zakia Jafri, the Gujarat High Court on Thursday gave clean chit to former Gujarat Chief Minister and current Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 post-Godhra riots.
Zakia had challenged a lower court’s order which had given clean chit to Modi. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) too had given clean chit to the former Gujarat CM. The Supreme Court monitored SIT in its report on February 8, 2012, had concluded that Modi, the then CM of Gujarat, had made enough efforts after the Godhra train carnage to see that law and order situation in the State did not deteriorate.
The HC has allowed Zakia to challenge lower court’s decision that it did not have powers to direct SIT to investigate the case further. Ehsan was burnt to death in his house during the riots. Apart from him, 67 others too were killed in Gulberg Society massacre in Ahmedabad on February 28 that year, a day after S6 coach of Sabarmati Express was set ablaze killing 58 kar sevaks.
Overall nearly 1,000 people were killed in the 2002 riots in the State which erupted after the deaths of kar-sevaks.
With the support activist Teesta Setalvad and her NGO Citizen for Justice and Peace, Zakia filed a criminal review petition in HC alleging a “larger criminal conspiracy” behind the riots. Their petition sought that Modi and 59 others, including senior police officers and bureaucrats to be made accused and being part of a larger conspiracy that facilitated the riots. It also sought the High Court’s direction for a fresh investigation.
It is worth mentioning that a special court in Ahmedabad had convicted 24 for the Gulberg society massacre. The court had acquitted 36 others and stated that it did not see any larger conspiracy. Zakia moved HC after the metropolitan court rejected her plea in December 2013.
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