A special trial court on Monday reserved its order in a case involving the Gulberg Society massacre in which 69 people, including ex-Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, were killed during the 2002 riots. The court did not give any date for pronouncement of order, but said that it would start dictating the order.
Saying he had to deal with “once in a lifetime” case, special designated judge P B Desai told the defence and the prosecution lawyers that he might ask them to turn up in case of confusion.
Earlier, defence lawyer Abhay Bharadwaj argued on the aspect of alleged conspiracy as asked by the court. Bharadwaj said there was no conspiracy by the accused as there was no common agenda. He said it was the case of prosecution that a mob of around 20,000 people started gathering outside Gulberg Society from 8 am on February 28, 2002, and the killings began after six hours at around 2 pm.
There are 66 accused in the massacre, which happened a day after the Godhra train burning incident. Four of the accused have died.
“Had it been a conspiracy, the mob would not have waited for six hours to enter the Society. The mob got agitated and entered the Society only after Ehsan Jafri opened fire on the mob at around 2 pm. There is enough evidence in the prosecution case itself showing 15 people received bullet injuries, and one of them died,” Bharadwaj argued. He said incidents of stone pelting and arson were being reported since morning, but the mob did not try to kill anyone. There was a bandh call by an organisation and the mob was only trying to enforce it. The mob also set afire shops and looted items.
Last week, a lawyer representing the victims had argued that gathering of the mob outside the Society was part of a conspiracy. He had said people were shouting “Jai Shree Ram”, besides raising anti-Muslim slogans and wielding weapons.
Bharadwaj said: “The problem with the conspiracy theory is that there is no evidence that who are the conspirators and where was the meeting held. As a matter of fact, there is no genesis of the mob. The intention of the mob was to enforce bandh and therefore, the mob was loitering around.”
“The mob was on the road for six hours. There were instances when several Muslims, including women passed through the mob, many of them entered Gulberg society. There is an incident in which one Ayub was beaten up, but he was not killed by the mob. Had the mob of Hindus conspired to kill Muslims, not a single Muslim who passed through the mob or lived in the neighbourhood would have been spared. It was only after firing by Jafri which provoked the mob,” he said.