Zakia Jafri is the wife of late Indian politician and former Member of Parliament Ehsan Jafri. She is known for filing several cases in court against the alleged role of the Gujarat government during the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Zakia Ahsan Jafri was born in 1937.age 85 years; by 2022) in Khandwa, the princely state of Indore, British India (now Madhya Pradesh, India).
Zakia Jafri belongs to a Muslim family of Madhya Pradesh.
His father was a farmer. Not much is known about his mother.
husband and children
Her husband Ehsan Jafri was a politician and lawyer. He was assassinated during the 2002 Gujarat riots, when a mob attacked his residence in Gulberg Society.
His daughter Nishreen Jafri Hussain is deputy manager at Larsen & Toubro (L&T).
His elder son Tanveer Jaffrey is a businessman.
His youngest son, Zubair Jaffrey, is the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) in a private firm in the United States.
Zakia Jafri follows Islam.
1969 riots in Madhya Pradesh
In 1969, communal riots broke out in Khandwa, the hometown of Zakia Jafri, as a result of which the mob burnt down her house. As a result of this, Zakia had to move with her family to a refugee camp. In 1970, after living in a refugee camp for a few months, Zakia moved to Ahmedabad with her husband.
2002 Gujarat Riots
On 27 February 2002, the S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express carrying Hindu pilgrims from Ayodhya to Gujarat was torched, killing 59 pilgrims. According to the Nanavati-Mehta Commission report, the train was set ablaze by a Muslim mob of 1,000 to 2,000 people. To investigate further into the train fire, in 2002, the central government set up a commission, which in its report stated that the fire was triggered by an accident. In 2003, the commission was held unconstitutional. After the fire in the train, massive riots broke out in Gujarat. On 28 February 2002, a mob surrounded the Gulbarg Society, where most of the residents were Muslims, with the intention of burning it. Many residents went to Ehsan Jafri’s house to escape the angry mob. The mob somehow broke the premises of the society and started attacking the residents. They also set Ehsan Jafri’s house on fire, in which more than 69 people were killed. After burning down his bungalow, the mob dragged Ehsan out of the house and brutally thrashed him to death. When the house was being attacked by the mob, Zakia Jafri hid on the first floor of the house and escaped.
Petition filed in Supreme Court
With Zakia Jafri, Social Activist on June 8, 2006 Teesta SetalvadiFormer DGP of Gujarat Police RB Sreekumarand former IPS officer Sanjeev Bhattfiled a joint petition in the Supreme Court in which it alleged that the 2002 Gujarat riots were instigated by the then Chief Minister of Gujarat. Narendra Modi, VHP leaders Praveen Togadia and Jaideep Patel and PC Pandey, the then DGP of Gujarat Police. After a petition was filed, the Supreme Court, in 2008, constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by RK Raghavan, the then chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). In 2010, the SIT submitted its report to the Supreme Court, after which the apex court submitted its amicus curiae (advisory to the court), Raju Ramachandran. In the same year, the amicus curiae submitted its report to the court, pointing out the discrepancies found in the SIT’s report. In 2011, the SIT filed a closure report, rejecting the amicus curiae’s observation. On 10 April 2012, after finding no conclusive evidence, the Supreme Court acquitted all the accused, including the then CM of Gujarat. On 15 April 2013, Teesta Setalvad The NGO, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) and Zakia Jafri, filed a joint protest petition in the Supreme Court, demanding that the evidence collected by the SIT be handed over to the petitioners for investigation. Filing a counter petition in the same year, the SIT 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.
Gulberg Samaj murder case
In 2006, after Zakia Jafri’s PIL in the Supreme Court, a case was registered against sixty people, accusing them of playing a role in the Gulbarg Samaj massacre. On 17 June 2016, the Supreme Court delivered its verdict against the accused. The top court in its judgment acquitted 36 people for want of evidence against them and convicted 24 people for playing an active role in the 2002 Gulbarg Samaj massacre. Sentencing the convicts, the court described February 28, 2002 as “the darkest day in the history of civil society of Gujarat”. Of the 24 convicts, 11 were given life sentences, one was sentenced to ten years in prison, and twelve were given seven years in prison. After the court pronounced its verdict, Zakia Jafri expressed her dismay. 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.
Petition against clean chit of SIT to accused
On 13 November 2018, Zakia Jafri, Teesta Setalvadi, RB SreekumarAnd Sanjeev Bhatt A joint petition was filed in the Supreme Court, challenging the clean chit given by the SIT and the Supreme Court to those accused of participating in the 2002 Gujarat riots, including the Prime Minister. Narendra Modi, In June 2022, the Supreme Court upheld the investigation report of the SIT and dismissed the joint petition. The court in its judgment said that Teesta, Sreekumar and Bhatt have played with the sentiments of Zakia Jafri for their own benefit. The court said in its decision,
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.”
Facts / Trivia
- Every year, on 28 February, Zakia Jafri visits his house, which was torched by a mob during the 2002 Gujarat riots.
- In 2022, 92 former bureaucrats and several activists requested the Supreme Court to withdraw and review the observations made during its judgment in June 2022.