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2002 Gulberg riots case judge visits crime scene

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Monday, 10 August,Ahmedabad: Sessions Judge P B Desai, who is conducting trial in the 2002 Gulberg Society riots case, on Monday visited the society in Meghaninagar area in Ahmedabad, where 69 persons of the minority community, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, were killed by a mob. The judge was earlier scheduled to visit the place on July 30. However, it was postponed due to water-logging in the area following heavy rains. Desai is the second judge in the case who has visited the crime scene. Justice B U Joshi, who was earlier conducting the trial in the case, had also visited the Gulberg Society in 2010.

During the visit today, Desai was accompanied by S M Vora, who is an advocate of riot survivors, and special public prosecutor R C Kodekar as well as defence lawyers. Desai reached the Society, which is now deserted, at around 3.30 pm and was there for around 45 minutes. One of the main reasons behind his visit is to verify the claims made by several witnesses during the trial and to have an exact idea of the geography of the crime scene.

According to Vora, the judge also wanted to personally verify some charges that some part of Society has been changed without due permission.

“There were some allegations that the Society has undergone some changes, either through demolition or new construction. However, the court today found that everything is as it is and no change has been done,” Vora said after the judge’s visit.

“The judge also went inside the bungalow of (late Ehsan) Jafri sahab and then visited the garden of the house. He also visited some apartments located in the society, including the one where Rupa Mody (whose son went missing after the Gujarat riots) lived,” said Vora.

To cross check claims made by witnesses who deposed before the court that they saw the incident from the house of one Saeed Khan, Desai also visited his house.

“Since the witnesses have described the incident in the court claiming that they saw it from Saeed Khan’s house, the court also visited that place to verify those claims,” said Vora. At least 69 persons of the minority community living in the Society, including Ehsan Jafri, were killed by a mob on February 28, 2002, a day after the Godhra train burning incident in which 59 karsevaks were charred to death.

PTI