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Hearing on Jafri’s petition on Gujarat riots conspiracy starts

The Gujarat High Court today began the hearing on the petition filed by Zakia Jafri against a lower court’s order upholding the clean chit given by Special Investigation Team to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others with regard to the 2002 riots.

Jafri’s husband, former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, was among those who were killed in the riots.

Advocate Mihir Desai, Jafri’s lawyer, today argued before Justice Sonia Gokani. The magistrate’s court had wrongly held that it cannot order investigation of riots cases because it did not fall in its jurisdiction, Desai said.

Neither SIT nor the magistrate’s court considered the first interim probe report of SIT filed by its member A K Malhotra when the case was before the Supreme Court, he said.

Asserting that there was “a larger conspiracy” behind the riots, Desai said “what happened post-February 27, 2002 (Godhra train burning incident) was not spontaneous outpouring of anger of people. A built-up was allowed which led to February 28 (riots).

“It might be a reaction on what happened on February 27. But there was a failure to impose curfew and the failure to take precautionary measures to ensure that the Bandh (in protest against Godhra incident) should be peaceful,” he said.

Desai also pointed out certain hate speeches contributed to the riots.

Jafri had filed a complaint in the Supreme Court against Modi (the then Chief Minister of Gujarat) and 62 others including state ministers, police officials and BJP leaders, alleging that they were part of a wider conspiracy behind the post-Godhra riots.

The SC asked SIT to probe it. In February 2012, SIT filed a closure report before the magistrate giving a clean chit to Modi and others. Jafri’s petition against SIT report was rejected by the metropolitan magistrate B J Ganatra, so she moved the High Court.