New Delhi, November 19: A bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and AM Khanvilkar will hear a petition challenging SIT clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 Gujarat riots case. The petition has been moved by 80-year-old Zakia Jafri and activist Teesta Setalvad's NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace.
Zakia's husband and former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri was killed by a Hindutva mob on February 28, 2002. The rioters had stormed into the Gulbarg Society in Ahmedabad -- where they resided. A total of 68 people were massacred in the residential colony, with Ehsan being dragged out of his house, and being hacked and burnt to death. Need No Patriotism Certificate From Those Accused in Godhra Riots: Sidhu's Stinging Jibe at PM Modi.
Zakia has alleged that her husband had dialled top government officials, Ministers, police personnel and politicians, who failed to help the residents of Gulbarga Society while a mob of thousands began gathering outside.
In 2006, Zakia had demanded a case to be registered against Modi - the then chief minister of Gujarat - accusing him of providing a free-hand to rioters involved in the anti-Muslim pogrom.
On April 27, 2009, the Supreme Court had asked the SIT to look into the allegations of complicity being levelled against Modi. The SIT examined the Chief Minister in 2012, and submitted the closure report a year later, clearing Modi of all the charges.
The clean chit was unsuccessfully challenged by Zakia in the Gujarat High Court in 2014. The bench had dismissed the plea, finding no reason to order a re-investigation.
Notably, the 2002 riots in Gujarat ended up claiming around 3,000 lives and left nearly 20,000 people displaced. The violence erupted after coaches of the Sabarmati Express were set on fire in Godhra, leading to the death of 59 people, mostly kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya.