Tanveer Jafri, son of slain ex-Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, on Monday his mother Zakia had met Congress president Sonia Gandhi at Circuit House in Ahmedabad when she was visiting Gujarat soon after the 2002 riots.
He was reacting to a claim made by ex-DGP R B Sreekumar in his book Gujarat:Behind the curtain that Congress leaders had then prevented Gandhi from meeting Zakia, wife of Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the 2002 Gulberg Society massacre.
Tanveer also sent an e-mail to Sreekumar on Sunday in which he stated: “Ms Soniaji Gandhi met my mother in Ahmedabad immediately after riots while she was visiting riot victims in Gujarat. The meeting was held in Circuit House. Mr Ahmed Patel (Gandhi’s political secretary) and one another gentleman was present during that time. I too was present (sic).”
However, replying to Tanveer’s e-mail, Sreekumar stated: “My statement that Sonia Gandhi did not visit your mother at her residence is truthful and correct. Instead Congress leaders summoned your mother, an old widow, under severe shock, agony and despair to the place of stay of Congress president. This act is highly deplorable, sinful and violating all social conventions and canons of ethics and morality.” A copy of the e-mail is with The Indian Express.
In Gujarat:Behind the curtain, Sreekumar had wrote: “Soulless secularism and over-sensitivity to Hindu sentiments presumably prompted Congress leaders to block the plans of Congress President Sonia Gandhi to visit Zakia Jafri, widow of former Congress MP, butchered to death by rioters on the bandh day (28th February 2002), during her Gujarat visit after the riots, for expressing condolence”.
When contacted, Tanveer, said, “No leader was being allowed to visit Gulberg Society since it was burnt down. My mother was staying at a friend’s place in Gandhinagar. Four-five days after the riots, a team of Congress leaders came and we met them at the circuit house. I was there at the meeting.”
Sreekumar, who retired in 2007, was among the first serving IPS officers who openly criticised the then Gujarat government for the riots and deposed before the Nanavati Commission.