For justice’s sake, re-investigate Narendra Modi’s role
Every other day, biscuit-maker Abdul Hannan takes groups of curious Muslims on a tour of Ahmedabad’s Gulbarg Society as if it were another mausoleum.
Hannan hates it, but visitors insist he lead them down a horrible memory lane. The lane inside this neighbourhood is literally a cul-de-sac.
At one end, Ehsan Jafri’s remains lie buried in what is a small mound in front of his charred house. On February 28, 2002, a mob allegedly hacked 38 residents of the colony to death, including Jafri, and dumped the bodies into a fire. That was when the Gujarat riots were peaking, as police look on.
“People come to just gaze at Jafri’s house in silence,” says Hannan, who also doubles up as the imam of the burnt Gulbarg Society mosque.
Hannan says Muslims transiting the city often come inquiring about Jafri’s house discreetly. “They either get in touch with local mosques or with the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind office, which lead them to me.”
Almost a week after the rioters cleaned Gulbarg Society of all signs of life, 42-year-old Maulana Hakimuddin, accompanied by a Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind team, reached the plundered Muslim neighbourhood on the morning of March 6.
Hakimuddin was rushed urgently to bury those killed, including Jafri, as required by religious norms. Hakimuddin, who is now the national general secretary of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, wants a mausoleum built where Jafri’s charred house stands.
So, justice is never more deserved than now – because its mockery is at its worst. The report of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on the Gujarat riots has serious flaws, as is evident from the report itself.
The SIT has not only conducted the investigation in a partial, biased and callous manner, but it can also be reasonably be assumed that the SIT has only served to cover up the role played by the Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Among its most egregious findings, the SIT has concluded that Modi’s instructions that Hindus should be allowed to vent their anger did not constitute an offence because this was said “within the four walls of a room”. This is a strange reasoning on the part of the SIT.
It is bizarre that a chief minister’s instructions to senior police officers not to prevent the riots – even if true — cannot constitute a cognizable and a culpable criminal act.
Meting out the gravest of injustices to a victim of flagrant communal violence, the SIT reasoned that the horrifying killing of Ehsan Jafri and others in the Gulbarg society housing attack case was the result of a provocation by Jafri, who had fired on the mob.
Firing at an enraged bloodthirsty mob was an act of desperate self-defence, a right available under the law. Right to life is guaranteed under the Constitution’s Article 21.
The SIT findings exonerating Narendra Modi, ridiculous as they are, have been questioned by the Supreme Court’s Amicus Curiae in the case. That should leave little doubt as to why the role of Narendra Modi should be re-investigated again.