The 2002 riots in Gujarat could have been prevented but no preventive measures were taken, Zakia Jafri told the Supreme Court today targetting the state’s administration and the law and order machinery. The 81-year-old who lost her husband — Gujarat’s Congress MP Ehsan Jafri — in the riots, has opposed the clean chit to Narendra Modi, who was the Chief Minister of Gujarat at the time.
“During communal incidents, preventive measures are not being followed… this is seen in many places now,” said senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Zakia Jafri before the bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar.
“There is a police manual on preventing violence during threatened communal incidents but it was never followed… We are seeing it in Tripura, Delhi and many other places. The manual is only a printed word,” he added.
Explaining the preventive measures, he said these include keeping sources of Intelligence on alert and patrolling in towns and villages. “Smallest incidents are to be reported and nipped in the bud”.
Ms Jafri had made the point earlier that her petition was about “law and order, administrative failure” and she is not interested in any “high dignitaries” or convictions at this stage.
The court will hear the case again on November 23.
Ehsan Jafri was among the 68 people killed at the Gulberg Society in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002 — a day after the S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express was burnt at Godhra, killing 59 people and triggering riots across the state.
A decade later, in February 2012, the SIT submitted its closure report in and gave a clean chit to PM Modi and 63 others, citing “no prosecutable evidence”.
Zakia Jafri had challenged the decision and the hearing of the case started after multiple adjournments.