“Ulterior Design”: Supreme Court Addresses a Dispute Concerning the Gujarat Riots


“Ulterior Design”: Supreme Court Addresses a Dispute Concerning the Gujarat Riots

“Ulterior Design”: Supreme Court Addresses a Dispute Concerning the Gujarat Riots



The Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the wife of a Congress MP murdered in the riots’ appeal, which challenges Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s exoneration in a case involving the 2002 Gujarat riots, is “devoid of merits” and was only brought “to keep the kettle boiling.”

The top court rejected the appeal brought by Zakia Jafri, the wife of Ehsan Jafri, one of the 68 persons slain in what became known as the Gulbarg Society massacre, upholding the clearance given to the then chief minister of the state by a Special Investigation Team, or SIT.

The court stated in emphatic terms that it had taken inspiration from arguments made by the SIT that the plea was entered “to keep the pot boiling, presumably, for ulterior design.”

The judges concluded that the appeal was submitted “at the direction of someone” and stated that “all those involved in such abuse of process ought to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law.”

They claimed that the majority of the petitioner’s claims were “based on versions of others which have been proved to be riddled with falsity” and threatened to “undermine the integrity and sincerity” of SIT members.

Additionally, it stated that Ms. Jafri’s remarks were “far-fetched and an attempt to destroy and undermine the SIT’s industry in examining the cases.”

One of the deadliest acts of violence during the riots that broke out when a train transporting pilgrims was set on fire in Godhra, killing 59 people, was the Gulbarg Society massacre.

Ms. Jafri, 84, demanded a new investigation into the riots because she believed there was a broader conspiracy including the police and officials.

The judgement was reserved by Supreme Court Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari, and CT Ravikumar in December.

One of the ten key Gujarat riot cases that the special panel assigned by the Supreme Court re-investigated was the slaughter at Ahmedabad’s Gulbarg Society, a collection of 29 bungalows and 10 apartment blocks housing mostly Muslims.

68 people were dragged out, hacked, and set on fire by the rioters, including former Congress legislator Ehsan Jafri. Zakia Jafri had said that the Congress leader’s desperate phone calls to police officers and top lawmakers seeking assistance went unanswered.

A decade after the riots, the Special Investigation Team exonerated Prime Minister Modi and 63 other individuals in its final report in February 2012, claiming the lack of “prosecutable evidence.”

24 attackers were found guilty in 2016 by a special court in Ahmedabad for the slaughter, which the court referred to as the “darkest day in the history of civil society.” However, the court emphasised that there was no bigger conspiracy and cleared 36 other defendants in this case, including a BJP corporator.


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