11 people sentenced for life in 2002 Gulbarg society case

RSTV Bureau
Gulbarg society massacre convicts being taken away in a prison van from the SIT court in Ahmedabad on Friday after the announcement of quantum of sentences.Photo-PTI

Gulbarg society massacre convicts being taken away in a prison van from the SIT court in Ahmedabad on Friday after the announcement of quantum of sentences.Photo-PTI

Terming the 2002-Gulbarg society massacre a “darkest chapter in history of civil society,” the judge of the special SIT court sentenced Eleven people convicted in the 2002-Gulbarg society massacre are to life in jail on Friday. The SIT has granted seven years of imprisonment to 12 others and one convict has been sentenced for a 10 years jail term.

Reacting to the verdict, Jakia Jafri wife of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the massacre said that SIT has done injustice to her and she will approach the high court.

“I don’t understand why 11 were given life imprisonment and some are given just seven or ten years of imprisonment. Why this selective approach as they all were part of a violent mob which killed people inside the society. This is wrong justice. The court did injustice to me,” Zakia said while talking to reporters in Ahmadabad.

Zakia is particularly unhappy with the seven-year jail term awarded to 12 convicts and 10-year sentence to one other convict, who were held guilty for lesser offences not including murder. She is also miffed with the acquittal of 36 others in the case.

“I was there in the society when the violent mob brutally killed my husband (Ehsan Jafri). He was an MP, yet he was hacked to death and burnt alive in the middle of road. Today’s verdict is not sufficient for such crime. I wished that court had given lifer to all of them who were involved in the crime,” said the wife of former Congress MP.

FILE: Ahmedabad: A file photo shows a para-military Jawan patrolling in front of the empty houses at Gulbarg society in Ahmedabad. Photo - PTI

FILE: Ahmedabad: A file photo shows a para-military Jawan patrolling in front of the empty houses at Gulbarg society in Ahmedabad.
Photo – PTI

The verdict sparked a war of words between BJP and Congress within hours after it was pronounced. Both parties accused each other of trying to turn the issue into a tool for their own political advantage.

“Those who played into hands of some political leaders are now behind bars while those who incited them for their political gains have subsequently acquired power. Those who became a tool of such leaders will have to spend their lives in jail,” said said Gujarat Congress Manish Doshi.

On the other side, Gujarat BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya rubbished the allegations of Congress and maintained that there was no conspiracy behind the massacre.

“We welcome today’s verdict. The court’s verdict was given without any influence. It is natural that people from both the sides, accused as well as victims, may not like it.  They all can approach high court. I also urge Congress to stop politicising this issue,” said Pandya.

The SIT on June 2, convicted 11 persons for murder and other offences and charged 13 others with lesser offences. It had acquitted 36 people in the case, in which 69 people, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, were killed.

The Gulbarg Society massacre took place on February 28, 2002 where a mob of 400 people set about attacked the society in Ahmadabad and killed several including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri.

The incident was one of the nine cases of the 2002 Gujarat riots probed by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team. The violence had taken place a day after S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was burnt near Godhra in which 58 ‘kar sevaks’ returning from Ayodhya were killed.