Skip to main content

"Larger conspiracy" on build up to 2002 Gujarat riots: SC to hear "fresh" evidence

Counterview Desk
The Special Leave Petition (SLP) of Zakia Jafri -- widow of late Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who was killed on February 28, 2002, the day on which Gujarat riots killing more than 1000 persons began -- has been placed for hearing in the Supreme Court on Monday, November 19. SLP challenges the order of the Gujarat High Court (dated October 5, 2017) dismissing her challenge to Magistrate Ganatra’s Order (dated December 26, 2013) and confirming the Closure Report of the SIT (dated December 8, 2012).
Filed in eight volumes, SLP seeks clarification of the gross anomalies in the judgements of both lower courts (Magistrate and Gujarat High Court) that are both legal and on the facts of this case. conspiracy that facilitated the 2002 post-Godhra riots. Significantly, the Gujarat High Court on October 5, 2017 had dismissed the plea of Jafri callenging SIT's clean chit to then chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, and others pertaining to “larger conspiracy” behind the 2002 riots.
Prominent human rights organization, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has, since the filing of the criminal complaint dated June 8, 2006, been assisting Jafri in the courts. Teesta Setalvad, Secretary, CJP is second petitioner in the present case.

CJP statement ahead of the crucial hearing:

We argue in the present SLP, how, the order of the Gujarat HC records that the Magistrate has considered the Closure Report of the SIT and found no substance in the complaint of the Petitioner dated June 8, 2006. Thereafter the Court erroneously goes on to say that the Magistrate provided detailed grounds for not accepting the Protest Petition of Jafri. This, in our submission, is factually incorrect.
It is our case that the Magistrate wrongly held that it was beyond the scope of his powers to direct further investigation. Besides, key and vital issues placed before the Magistrate, detailing our case and making out a sound and substantiated case of criminal conspiracy and abetment, we argue, have been not duly considered by the Magistrate or the High Court.
The SIT filed a Closure Report in 2012, without giving an audience to Jafri as is her legal right. Thereafter she had to petition the SC again in a fresh SLP (Nos 8989/2012) to acquire the full and complete investigation records, reports and documents. These we obtained by order of the Supreme Court on February 7, 2013 after which we were given two months to file the protest petition.
It is only after that order of the SC in February 2013, that the CJP legal team analysed close to 23,000 pages of documents that became the basis of the detailed construct and narrative of the Protest Petition. 
It is through this Protest Petition that the Petitioner has drawn out the lacunae in SIT’s investigation and constructed a more comprehensive and prima facie case for large conspiracy, abetment, dereliction of duty by First Responders and hate speech, which in the Petitioner’s opinion, is squarely made from the documents on record.
In the present case before the SC we argue that it will be abundantly clear from a close perusal of the Protest Petition that the Jafri has substantiated further acts of a larger conspiracy by detailing evidence about the prelude and build up of a volatile atmosphere prior to February 27, 2002, the post mortems being conducted in the wide open in violation of statutory provisions, no preventive arrests and delayed implementation of curfew in Ahmedabad despite widespread violence from February 27, 2002 onwards among other issues.
Besides, we argue that, an analysis of Police Control Room (PCR records) shows dereliction of duty by First Responders. The conspiracy, as constructed in the Protest Petition also provides proof of the also reporting and misleading Constitutional and statutory authorities and the destruction of records relating to minutes of meetings, police logbooks, wireless messages by those at the helm of power in 2002.
The Gujarat High Court notes in its Order dated October 5, 2017 that,
"Undoubtedly, the Complaint given in writing to the DGP of the State of Gujarat by Ms Zakia Jafri on 08.6.2006 was for the period between February 27, 2002 to May 2002 where it is alleged that the larger conspiracy of officers and bureaucrats (63 in numbers) for committing the offence under section 302 read with 120(b) of te IPC has resulted into the loss of thousands of lives. Such acts, according to the said complaint, allegedly indicate larger conspiracy for the entire State which has not been restricted to particular case or incident of riot.”
However, despite recognizing that the complaint dated June 8, 2006 and the Protest Petition dated April15, 2013 dealt with events between February 27 and May 2002, we argue that she however leaves us remedy-less on the vital aspect of no adequate Investigation into the larger conspiracy and disregarding of the same by the Magistrate.
It is on these issues as also on the conscious and erroneous clubbing of the Zakia Jafri complaint with the single incident at Gulberg society (that took place on February 28, 2002 and according to us is just one of 300 incidents and one link In the wider conspiracy) that the lower courts have erred and we seek correction and remedy.

Comments

TRENDING

Untold story of Jammu: Business 'down', students fear lynching, teachers can't speak

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report, seeking to debunk the view that people in Jammu, the second biggest city of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) after Srinagar, people had gone “out celebrating” abrogation of Article 370 which took away the state’s special status, has reported what it calls “abominably high levels of fear” across all sections in the town.

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Cess for Gujarat construction workers: Spending less than 10%; no 'direct help' to beneficiaries

By Our Representative
While the Gujarat government’s Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, set up in 2004, as of March 31, 2019, has collected a total cess of Rs 2,097.62 crore from the the builders, it has spent less than 10% -- Rs 197.17 crore. And, as on May 31, 2019, the total cess collection has reached Rs 2,583.16 crore, said a statement issued by Bandhkam Majur Sagathan general secretary Vipul Pandya.
Pointing out that just about 6.5 lakh out of 20 lakh workers have been registered under the board, Pandya said, vis-à-vis other states, Gujarat ranks No 13th in the amount spent on the welfare of the construction workers, while 11th in the amount collected.
And while the builders are obliged to pay just about 1% of the total cost of their project, the calculation of the cess is flawed: It is Rs 3,000 per square yard; accordingly, Rs 30 per square yard is collected. “Had the cess been collected on the real construction cost, it would have been at least Rs 7,000 cr…

Why nobody objected to Gautam Gambhir, Sunny Deol in t-shirt, jean?: Activists

By Our Representative
Mimi Chakraborty and Nusrat Jahan’s excitement on their first day as MPs was overshadowed by a barrage of sexism over their ‘non- sanskari’ outfits, a group of civil society activists have said in a statement. According to Aarushi Nigam, Divya Kaushik, Riya Sharma, Ruman Ganguly, and Anulekha Agarwal, both Bengali actors and first-time MPs "were certainly excited to take them on when they posted pictures from their new workplace on social media."
Hit by misogynistic comments, the activists say, "Their choice of workwear – jeans and a white button-down shirt for Mimi, a wine-coloured peplum suit for Nusrat – was the first and last word on their political competence for many."
“You’re not on vacation”, “they have mistaken Parliament for Kolkata’s Nicco Park or City Centre”, “this is not a photo studio, this is a place where you should fight for people’s rights and legislate”, “keep some respect towards your Bengali society” were some of the &quo…

Kashmiris in a civil disobedience mode, are going against 'diktat' to open shops

Counterview Desk
A team of concerned citizens, including Ludhiana-based psychiatrist and writer Anirudh Kala, Mumbai-based activist and public health professional Brinelle Dsouza, Delhi-based journalist and writer Revati Laul, and social activist Shabnam Hashmi, travelled to Kashmir and Jammu to understand the impact of the abrogation of Article 370 and the subsequent security clampdown and communication blockade on the lives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

Gujarat CM aide 'doubts' authenticity of Gandhi article published in 'Harijan'

By Rajiv Shah
A top aide of Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani has doubted the authenticity of the article written by Mahatma on Gandhi January 27, 1948, three days before his death. Hitesh Pandya, who was assistant public relations officer (PRO) under Narendra Modi’s chief ministership in Gujarat, and is currently serving as PRO of Rupani, has said, there is “reason to doubt”, since the article appeared on February 1, 1948, two days after Gandhi’s assassination.

Denied permission in Ahmedabad to protest on Kashmir, NGO seeks online support

By Our Representative
Gujarat chapter of the Delhi-based Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD), which calls itself is a socio-cultural organization established “as a response to 2002 Gujarat riots”, has sought support from state academics, activists and professionals for a petition against the “unilateral” decision of the Government of India to “revoke” Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) legislature’s “right to self-governance”.

Success of 'political' Hinduism: Kashmiris being depicted as antagonists of rest of India

By Anand K Sahay*
There are times in history when facts call attention to themselves; they assert their independence in all its amplitude and are in no need of the crutch of interpretation. Such a moment is visible in Kashmir now. Merely by being on the table, the facts there taunt the regime’s proclamations.

RSS chief's Hindutva motto seems to be: Down with lynching, long live vadh

By Shamsul Islam*
India has turned into the lynching capital of the world. Our country has been tagged with this infamous identity with Narendra Modi becoming Prime Minister of India in 2014. The Modi rule herald the beginning of nation-wide spree of lynching of Dalits and minorities. Unfortunately, there is no government data collection on hate-crimes but few media outlets have been collecting the lynch data.