Godhra Riots: SC Fixes April 14 for Hearing Zakia Jafri’s Plea Against Clean Chit to PM Modi

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Zakia Jafri, whose late husband, a lawmaker for the Congress party which now sits in opposition, and was hacked to death by a Hindu mob in riots, offers prayers inside her son’s house in Surat, India, September 15, 2015. Jafri, a frail 76-year-old, has begun what may be the last legal battle to pin blame on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for deadly riots that shook the state of Gujarat when he was chief minister, and claimed her husband’s life. Picture taken September 15, 2015. REUTERS/Amit Dave – GF10000208163

New Delhi: Saying that the matter had been adjourned many times and would have to be heard someday, the Supreme Court on Tuesday fixed April 14 for hearing a plea by Zakia Jafri, wife of slain MP Ehsan Jafri, which challenges the SIT clean chit given to then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 Godhra riots.

A bench comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari posted the matter for hearing in April after Zakia’s counsel sought an adjournment and urged the court to post it after the Holi vacation. When advocate Aparna Bhat, appearing for Zakia, told the court that the issue in the matter is contentious, the bench said, “It has been adjourned so many times, whatever it is, we will have to hear it someday. Take one date and make sure you all are available.”

Zakia had filed a petition in the apex court in 2018 challenging the Gujarat High Court’s October 5 order, rejecting her plea against the decision of the Special Investigation Team. Ehsan Jafri was among the 68 people killed in Gulberg Society on February 28, 2002, a day after the S-6 Coach of the Sabarmati Express was burnt at Godhra, killing 59 people and triggering riots in Gujarat.

On February 8, 2012, the SIT had filed a closure report giving a clean chit to Modi and 63 others, including senior government officials, saying there was “no prosecutable evidence” against them.

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