Husband: Ehsan Jafri
Age: 85 Years
Hometown: Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh
Some lesser known facts about Zakia Jafri
- Zakia Jafri is the wife of Indian politician Ehsan Jafri, who was also a Member of Parliament of the Indian National Congress. She often made headlines for filing several affidavits against him Narendra ModiThe alleged role of the Gujarat government in fueling the 2002 Gujarat riots.
- In 1969, Zakia Jafri’s house was burnt down by a mob due to the outbreak of communal riots in Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh. This forced Zakia to live with her family in a refugee camp.
- After living in refugee camps for a few months, in 1971, Zakia Jafri decided to stay with her husband Ehsan Jafri in Ahmedabad.
- On 27 February 2002, the S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express was torched, killing 59 Hindus, who were returning from a pilgrimage to Gujarat from Ayodhya. According to the Nanavati-Mehta Commission (NMC); Established in 2002 by the Gujarat government to investigate the 2002 Gujarat riots, the train was set on fire by a mob of 1,000 to 2,000 Muslims. Another report submitted in 2002 by a committee set up by the central government stated that the train had burnt down due to an accident. This report was rejected by the Gujarat government in 2003 when the committee was declared unconstitutional.
- After the train caught fire, there was widespread communal violence across the state. On 28 February 2002, a mob demanding vengeance for the killing of Hindus surrounded the premises of the Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad, with the aim of killing the society’s residents, who were mostly Muslims. This resulted in residents fleeing to Ehsan Jafri’s bungalow in the society, seeking shelter from the angry mob.
- On 28 February 2002, at 9 a.m., the mob broke through the perimeter walls of the society and started attacking the residents. The mob also torched the bungalow of former MP Ehsan Jafri, in which over 69 people were killed. Ehsan Jafri was dragged out of his house and brutally beaten to death by an angry mob. During the mob attack, Zakia Jafri hid on the first floor of her house with her children, as a result of which she survived.
- On 8 June 2006, Zakia Jafri filed her first petition in the Supreme Court, demanding justice for the victims of the Gulberg Society massacre. The petition was filed jointly with Teesta Setalvadi, RB SreekumarAnd Sanjeev Bhatt, In his petition, he made several allegations against the then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra ModiVHP leaders like Praveen Togadia and Jaideep Patel and PC Pandey, the then DGP of Gujarat Police. In his petition, he accused Narendra Modi and the Gujarat government of deliberately not taking any action against the rioters.
- In 2008, the Supreme Court constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by RK Raghavan, the then Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), to investigate cases related to the 2002 Gujarat riots.
- After its investigation, in 2010, the SIT submitted its report on the Gujarat riots to the Supreme Court. To examine the report of the SIT, the apex court appointed Raju Ramachandran as its Nyaya Mitra (advisor to the court) in 2010.
- In the same year, after his independent investigation, Raju Ramachandran submitted his observations to the Supreme Court, pointing out several discrepancies in the SIT’s report. In 2011, the SIT rejected the amicus curiae’s comments and filed a closure report in the Supreme Court.
- The Supreme Court, after finding no valid evidence, acquitted those accused of instigating the 2002 Gujarat riots, including Narendra Modion 10 April 2012.
- Zakia Jafri with social worker on 15 April 2013 Teesta Setalvadifiled another PIL in the Supreme Court, requesting the Supreme Court to hand over the evidence collected by the SIT in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots. In 2013, the SIT filed a counter petition in the court. The SIT in its official statement said,
Teesta Setalvad and others have rubbished the complaint targeting the chief minister, who never said go and kill people. His lawyer further said that the so-called incident of Chief Minister (Narendra Modi) giving instructions (in the meeting) to high level police officers not to take action against the rioters is the only creation of Teesta Setalvad. There is no evidence of this and Setalvad was not present during the incident.
- The Supreme Court on 17 June 2016 delivered its verdict on Zakia Jafri’s 2006 petition. In 2006, a case was registered against 60 people for playing an active role in the Gulberg Society massacre. In its judgment, out of 60 accused, the Supreme Court acquitted 36 people for not finding any conclusive evidence against them. The Supreme Court, while delivering the verdict to the 24 convicts, described February 28, 2002 as “the darkest day in the history of civil society of Gujarat”. Of the 24 convicts, 11 were sentenced to life imprisonment, 12 to seven years in prison and one to ten years in prison. After the verdict, Zakia Jafri expressed her disappointment. In an interview, she said,
All the convicts were part of the same rioting mob that had committed the heinous crime and should have been equally sentenced to life imprisonment. Those acquitted earlier should have been brought to justice in the same manner. I will consult with their lawyers on the next step. The matter is not over for me. I will prosecute the acquitted people. This is injustice. The person who did so much for the people was cut and burnt on the streets. I cannot agree with this. I demand life imprisonment for every convict as everyone was present that day.
- On 13 November 2018, Zakia Jafri, Teesta SetalvadiFormer DGP of Gujarat Police R. B, Sreekumariand former IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt Joint petition filed in Supreme Court against clean chit given by SIT to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others. The Supreme Court delivered its verdict on the PIL in June 2022. It not only dismissed the joint trial but also held that Teesta, Bhatt and Sreekumar have played with the sentiments of 2002 Gujarat riots victim Zakia Jafri. The court further observed that the trio took advantage of Zakia’s sentiments for their own benefit. The top court in its official judgment said,
Teesta and the others are vengefully persecuting this lie for their covert design by exploiting Zakia Jafri’s feelings and emotions. For the last 16 years, work is being done for the inverted design, for boiling the pot. All those involved in such abuse of process should stand in the dock and proceed as per the law. The appeal against the 2012 judgment of the court has been made with malicious intent and at the behest of someone. The lies of their claims were completely exposed by the SIT after a thorough investigation.”
- Every year, on 28 February, Zakia Jafri visits her old bungalow in Gulberg Society, which was burnt down by rioters during the 2002 Gujarat riots.
- In July 2022, more than 90 former civil servants and civil rights activists urged the Supreme Court to withdraw and review its decision given in June 2022.