2002 Gujarat Riots case in SC: Senior Advocate kapil sibal says that religious violences are like fire storms

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Zakia Jafri, wife of Congress MP Ahsan Jafri who was killed during 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat, on Wednesday contended that the Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team (SIT), whose closure report gave a clean chit to then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and others in riot-related incidents, had not properly investigated the matter and even ignored evidence given to it.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who appeared for Jafri, told a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar that the SIT “never seized any phone, never examined Call Data Records…never checked why police were standing by, never checked how bombs were manufactured…”

“Parading of the bodies (from Godhra to the Sola Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad) was also part of the conspiracy and there was no curfew declared in Ahmedabad till 12.45pm,” Zakia’s counsel Kapil Sibal said, resuming his arguments from last week.

“Photographs were taken of these bodies which created an atmosphere of revolt, revulsion and hatred. No one’s phone was seized. That is the best evidence possible,” he told the bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and C.T. Ravikumar.

Sibal indicated the hand of higher-ups in the government and police.

“We say the conspiracy was hatched by Acharya Giriraj Kishore of the VHP who was escorted by police to the Sola Civil Hospital (where the bodies lay). Can your Lordships imagine a VHP functionary being escorted by police?” he said.

Ehsan and others were massacred in Ahmedabad’s Gulbarg Housing Society after the authorities allegedly ignored his pleas for help. An apex court-appointed special investigation team (SIT) probed Zakia’s riot conspiracy charges against Modi, other ministers and police bosses and absolved them in 2012.

He said it’s a “historic matter” because the choice was between ensuring that rule of law prevailed or letting people run amok.

Alleging that there was a “larger conspiracy, bureaucratic inaction, police complicity, hate speeches leading to violence”, Sibal demanded that it should be investigated.

“The SIT never seized any phones…never checked CDR records…never checked how bombs were manufactured…and it never took stock of the whereabouts of the accused. So, whichever way you look at it, there has to be an investigation,” Sibal submitted.

The arguments are again likely to resume this week.