Gulbarg massacre case: Kin contest court order that Jafri's firing provoked mob
Kin of the 2002 Gulbarg Society massacre victims and eye-witnesses on Saturday contested a special court's conclusion that firing by former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri acted as a catalyst for mob fury.
Ahmedabad: Kin of the 2002 Gulbarg Society massacre victims and eye-witnesses on Saturday contested a special court's conclusion that firing by former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri acted as a catalyst for mob fury.
While Jafri's son Tanvir said that court has relied on a "totally false" evidence, kin of some other victims said that the firing by him was done in "self defence". One of the witnesses in the case even said that there was no firing by Jafri, which he had testified before the court.
In its order given yesterday, special SIT court judge PB Desai said that the firing by Jafri, which killed one person, provoked and infuriated the mob that led it to the "killing frenzy", but asserted that the firing cannot condone the acts of the mob.
"It was the private firing by Shri Ehsan Jafri that acted as a catalyst and which infuriated the mob to such an extent that it went out of control, the limited police force available there had no means to control or disperse such mob, which had gathered in large numbers post the incident of private firing," the court said in its order.
However, Tanvir and some eyewitnesses today questioned the conclusion drawn by the judge.
"We are not at all in agreement with the judgement, wherein the court said that the private firing of Ehsan Jafri provoked mob into a killing frenzy. The court has relied on some evidence, which is totally false," Tanvir said.
"Defence lawyer could not present a single witness who could testify to the fact that they saw Jafri saheb firing from his gun. They referred to a statement by someone who is both a victim and witness, who said in his statement before the police that Jafri saheb fired from his gun.
He was not even presented to testify before the court," he added.
Saed Khan Pathan, who lost his entire family in the Gulbarg carnage, said that the firing by Jafri was in self defence after a huge mob had gathered outside the society.
"It is wrong to say that due to firing by Ehsan Jafri the society was targeted. The mob had started gathering from 10 am (on the fateful day of 28 February, 2002) and they had started pelting stones and indulged in arson. The firing was done at 1 am. Ehsan Jafri fired in self defence. So we do not believe that conclusion of the court," Pathan said.
Another witness, Salimbhai Sandhi, who testified before the court during the course of argument, said that he never heard the firing as he was behind the mob when it was breaking into Jafri's house, something which he had testified before the court.
"I had told the court that no such thing had happened. I was behind the mob when it tried to break into the house, then retreated to save life. I can surely say there was no such firing, no such thing happened," he said.
Victims' lawyer SM Vora said that none of the witnesses testified to the fact presented by defence lawyers that Jafri fired at the mob.
However, the court in its order said that police inquiry, testimony by the SIT and forensic evidence prove that there was private firing by Jafri and one person was killed and 15 others were injured in it.
A special SIT court is likely to pronounce its verdict on Thursday in connection with a 2002 post-Godhra riots case of Gulbarg Society in which 69 persons including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri were killed.
The hearing for the 2002 post-Godhra riots case of Gulbarg Society, in which 69 persons including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri were killed, is underway. 11 accused have been convicted so far for the murder and 13 more have been convicted under other charges.
The Supreme Court on Friday extended the relief granted to social activist Teesta Setalvad in the Gulbarg fund case till 19 February, news channels reported.