Recounting the 2002 Gulberg Society massacre, the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) lawyer told a specially designated court in Ahmedabad that former Congress MP Ahsan Jafri “was last seen being dragged by some accused out of his house… his body was never recovered…”
The trial began before the fourth judge, on the directions of and following a deadline set by the apex court, on Friday.
Nowhere in the 45-odd minutes of narration did the special public prosecutor defending SIT, R C Kodekar, say that Jafri opened fire on the mob, a premise that has been stated by investigators as having provoked the mob to kill Jafri and 68 others that day.
Kodekar described how the mob used explosives to get entry into the society. “Gulberg Society falls under Chamanpura police chowki under Meghaninagar police station. This society was dominated by educated Muslims, compared to other localities that house people from the minority community who are mostly labourers. Ahsan Jafri used to stay at Gulberg Society. An MP elected in 1977, Jafri was a peace-loving and eminent citizen,” Kodekar told the court.
Kodekar said on February, 28, 2002, the tension escalated in certain localities in the Meghaninagar area. He began by describing “…some shops were torched by an unruly mob, but not here at Gulberg Society. However, tension mounted further and mob of some 20,000 to 22,000 gathered near Gulberg Society.”
Kodekar wrapped up the case by saying, “39 persons were burnt alive while 30 persons went missing. Seven years later, they were declared dead. In all, 69 persons were killed in the incident. Jafri was last seen being dragged by some accused, but his body was not found.”
The SIT did not mention the closure report it filed on the preliminary inquiry into the petition by Jafri’s widow, Zakia, who has accused the then chief minister and now Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 61 others for their failure to contain the riots. The special court may hear next week a plea filed by victims seeking to arraign four retired IPS officers in the case.
(With PTI inputs)