Zakia Jafri, who has been waging a battle for 14 years to secure justice for her late husband and former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, on Wednesday expressed dissatisfaction with the verdict in the 2002 Gulberg Society riots case and said she will continue her fight.
“No I am not satisfied with the verdict. I did not like it. All should have been given punishment for what they did and what they did not. I know it all and as I have seen the massacre. I expected all to be convicted...how they killed people, how they made them homeless, I saw it myself,” Zakia said. “I can’t dare to ask for capital punishment but maximum punishment should be given. They should be given life imprisonment so they could know the pain of staying away from their family and children,” she said.
“My fight should have stopped but looking at today’s judgement the fight will continue,” she said. Social activist Teesta Setalvad, who has been fighting for the victims of Gulberg Society, said they will study the judgement in depth and appeal in the higher court.
“We will study the judgement, we definitely believe that this is the case of criminal conspiracy and we will exercise our right of appeal in it,” Setalvad said. Ehsan Jafri’s son Tanvir raised questions on acquittal of 36 people. “It was a big society with 15-20 bungalows and 10 apartments with 400-500 occupants. So how can 24 people loot and burn the entire society for 24 hours and kill so many people in such a brutal manner. So that way it looks very odd,” Jafri said.
“We are satisfied with conviction of 24 people but for 36 acquitted, we will go in for an appeal after discussing with our lawyers,” Jafri said. The massacre had left 69 people, including Ehsan Jafri, dead.
The Gulberg Society case is one of the nine cases of the 2002 Gujarat riots probed by the Supreme Court appointed SIT. The incident had taken place a day after S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was burnt near Godhra train station, in which in 59 ‘karsevaks’ were killed.