Ahmedabad: While hearing the cases of Gujarat riots, a bench of Supreme Court had said, "When ghastly killings take place in the land of Mahatma Gandhi, it raises a very pertinent question as to whether some people have become so bankrupt in their ideology that they have deviated from everything which was so dear to him (Gandhi)."
Now the above quotation of Supreme Court fits Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by former director of CBI R.K Raghwan in wake of Gulbarg society killing in 2002.
A key witness in the Gulbarg massacre case has claimed that Narendra Modi had abused the former Congress MP, Ehsan Jafri, when the latter had called Modi for help during the Godhra riots.
About 69 people including Jafri were torched to death by a mob on 28 February, 2002, a day after Sabarmati express was burnt in Godhra. Imtiyaz Saeedkhan Pathan who was present at the Gulbarg society when the incident happened told a special court that Jafri was frantically trying to call police for help.Jafri's house was turned into a refuge where many people had taken shelter.
When people asked Jafri as to why police was not coming for help Jafri told them that he would call Modi. "When I asked Jafri what Modi said, he said that there was no question of help and he instead got abuses", I
Pathan told the judge in the past, "The society was surrounded by mob and residents herded to Jafrisaab's house. The MP told us he will call Modi for help. After he put the phone down, I asked Jafrisaab about Modi's response. He told me that instead of sending help, Modi showered abuses on him."
Jafrisaab had also sought help from senior cops, said Pathan. "The then police chief P C Pande and Meghaninagar PI K G Erda came here. Jafrisaab asked them for bandobast. The cops promised to send help soon and left. In a few seconds, a 4,000-strong mob gathered outside the society."
The society members closed the two main gates of the society, Pathan recounted.
"The mob threw burning rags to smoke us out. Jafri kept calling police officers and political leaders for help, but in vain. Around 1.30 pm, the mob used a gas cylinder to bring down the wall and rushed in with swords, knives and cans filled with fuel. Before my eyes, they cut down my father's elder brother. The mob poured petrol on Jafri's house and set fire. Kids and women ran out. The mob killed my mother and grandmother." The mob was abusing Jafrisaab. He told the mob: 'I will come out if you will be satisfied with killing me.' The moment he opened the gate, some men dragged him to the road and screamed 'Jafri mil gaya'."Pathan added, "The mob raped my sister-in-law and another women before killing them. They also killed my nephews Shahdab Khan and Yusuf." Pathan, who identified several accused in court, said that the police came only around 4.30 p.m. to help the mob.
SIT reportedly found nothing to substantiate the allegation that slain Congress leader Ehsan Jafri had called up Narendra Modi's office for help when rioters reached the Gulbarg Housing Society where 39 people were massacred and 30 went missing. Zakia Jafri, wife of slain Congress MP is running from pillar to post in the quest of justice but this is agony that SIT even did not record her statement. The two more witnesses Roopa Mody and Imtiyaz Pathan who were present when VHP and Bajrang dal workers were involved in cannibalism, said, Ehsan Jafri had called senior police officers and leaders but no help arrived.
The names of the main accused failed to appear in the chargesheet filed in the Gulbarg riots case. The victims of the massacre have argued that the incident was pre-planned in order to target minority members living in the society. However, the defence, in its reply, stated that the mob turned violent only after Jafri had fired several rounds on them.
Some of the acquittals are interesting including the acquittal of police inspector KG Erda, the only cop arraigned and put on trial in the case for dereliction of duty and destruction of evidence. He was accused of ineffective firing and leaving the spot when his presence was most required to save lives of people in Gulbarg Society.