A special panel probing the 2002 Gujarat riots Tuesday gave a clean chit to Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the Gulberg massacre case, leading the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to demand that the “vilification campaign” against him should stop and the Congress retorting that there was enough proof of the killings during the riots.
Metropolitan Magistrate MS Bhatt, who received the closure report of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in February, in his order said the investigators have found no evidence against any of the accused, including Modi, in the 2002 Gulberg Society massacre, one of the cases related to the widespread riots 10 years ago.
Zakia Jafri, wife of the slain former Congress MP Ehsaan Jafri, who was killed by a rioting mob at the Gulberg housing society, said she was “disappointed” with the closure report and vowed to continue her fight for justice. “I am saddened but confident I will get justice. I will fight for the justice till I am alive,” said Zakia.
Zakia had accused Modi and senior government officers of being conspirators in the riots and claims her husband had made frantic calls to police and the chief minister’s office seeking help, but to no avail. Ehsaan Jafri was among 69 people burnt alive by a rioting mob on Feb 28, 2002 at the Gulberg Housing Society in Ahmedabad.
“‘No evidence against Narendra Modi’ says SIT appointed by Supreme Court. A big relief for us. Ten years of vilification campaign must stop,” senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj posted on microblogging website Twitter. Whereas Congress General Secretary BK Hari Prasad told reporters, “The fact that around 3,000 people died in the communal riots needs no proof.”
“No offence” has been established against the people listed in Zakia’s complaint as per the SIT report, judge Bhatt said in his order. This is the first official confirmation about the SIT report on finding no proof against the chief minister. The court also asked the probe panel to give a copy of the report to Zakia Jafri within 30 days which is when the SIT report will become fully public.