The 2002 riots in Gujarat could have been prevented, but no preventive measures were taken, Zakia Jafri told the Supreme Court today targeting the state administration and the public order machinery. The 81-year-old woman who lost her husband, Gujarat MP Ehsan Jafri, in the riots, has opposed the complaint by Narendra Modi, who was the prime minister of Gujarat at the time.
“During communal incidents, preventive measures are not being followed … this is now seen in many places,” said lead defender Kapil Sibal, who appeared for Zakia Jafri before the court of judges AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar.
“There is a police manual on preventing violence during threatened communal incidents, but it was never followed … We are seeing it in Tripura, Delhi and many other places. The manual is just a printed word,” he added.
Explaining the preventive measures, he said that these include keeping intelligence sources on alert and patrolling towns and villages. “The smallest incidents must be reported and nipped in the bud.”
Ms. Jafri had previously stated that her petition was about “law and order, administrative failures” and is not interested in any “high dignitaries” or convictions at this stage.
The court will hear the case again on November 23.
Ehsan Jafri was among 68 people killed at the Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad of Gujarat on February 28, 2002, a day after the S-6 car of the Sabarmati Express was burned in Godhra, killing 59 people and causing riots throughout the state.
A decade later, in February 2012, the SIT presented its closure report and gave Prime Minister Modi and 63 others a clean note, citing “no actionable evidence.”
Zakia Jafri had contested the decision and the hearing of the case began after multiple postponements.