Nation Current Affairs 02 Jun 2016 Timeline of Gulberg ...

Timeline of Gulberg society massacre case

DECCAN CHRONICLE.
Published Jun 2, 2016, 1:42 pm IST
Updated Jun 17, 2016, 1:34 pm IST
The incident occurred on February 28, 2002 when a 20,000-strong mob set fire to Gulberg housing society in Chamanpura, Ahmedabad.
66 accused had been named in the case by the Special Investigation Team (SIT). (Photo: AFP)
 66 accused had been named in the case by the Special Investigation Team (SIT). (Photo: AFP)

Ahmedabad: A special court on June 2 convicted 24 people and acquitted 36 in the 2002 Gulberg society massacre, in which 69 people were killed during the Gujarat riots.

Of the 66 accused in the case named by the Special Investigation Team (SIT), five are dead and one has been absconding since the last three months.

 

Here is a timeline of events in the Gulberg society massacre case:

February 28, 2002: The incident occurred when a 20,000-strong mob set fire to Gulberg housing society in Chamanpura, Ahmedabad. The society housed 29 bungalows and 10 apartments belonging mostly to upper middle class Muslims.

The mob’s rage was a reaction to the burning of the Sabarmati Express coach on the previous day, which killed 59 and triggered the Gujarat riots.

The enraged mob assembled at the place from around 9 am onward, and began shouting slogans. Panicked residents of Gulberg society took refuge in the home of Congress MP Ehsan Jafri.

 

By noon, the mob had turned violent and began to burn down houses and hack residents to death. Jafri himself was hacked to death and then later burnt. It is alleged that he made unsuccessful calls to several politicians and police officers for rescue. A total of 69 people were killed.

Subsequently, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) demanded a CBI probe into the Gulberg society case along with the Naroda Patiya massacre, Best Bakery case etc.

June 8, 2006: Zakia Jafri, the widow of Ehsan Jafri, claimed that the police had not registered FIRs against then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, and 62 others including several ministers and alleging a conspiracy to allow the massacre of Muslims, including paying no heed to repeated requests for help from the panicked residents.

 

March 26, 2008: The Supreme Court ordered the state government to re-investigate ten cases in the 2002 Gujarat riots including the Gulberg society massacre.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Meghsingh Chaudhary was arrested for complicity in the massacre. It was alleged that he egged on the mob to burn down the houses of the victims and kill them.

April 27, 2009: When Zakia Jafri approached the Supreme Court of India, it passed an order on appointing a five-member SIT headed by RK Raghavan, a former head of the CBI. The SIT was to probe the case and examine whether there was any collusion of state machinery with the rioters.

 

February 24, 2010: Special public prosecutor RK Shah resigned after accusing the trial judge and SIT of being "soft on the accused".

March 27, 2010: SIT summoned Narendra Modi to give an explanation regarding accusations against him in the murder of Ehsan Jafri. He made an appearance  before the SIT.

Imtiyaz Pathan, who lost six family members, testified against Modi in the trial court, claiming that Jafri had called Modi for help during the incident, but no help was provided.

But the apex court suspended the trial following RK Shah's resignation in February.

 

April 11, 2010: The SIT questioned VHP president Pravin Togadia in the case on following which it submitted its report in a sealed envelope on April 14.

December 15, 2010: Zakia Jafri and other victims filed an application with the Supreme Court, requesting it to direct SIT to submit the report before the Ahmedabad court as ordered by the apex court, within 30 days.

February 8, 2012: SIT submitted its final report to a Gujarat magistrate's court. The SIT stated that Jafri was killed because he provoked a furious mob that wanted to take revenge against Muslims for the Godhra train burning. It was said that Jafri fired several times at the mob before the massacre began.

 

April 10, 2012: The SIT exonerated Narendra Modi, stating that he had absolutely no role in the killing of Ehsan Jafri.

Zakia Jafri subsequently filed a protest petition in the Supreme Court seeking rejection of the SIT report on Modi. However, eventually this was not successful.

August 4, 2015: The final hearing on the case started in the Gujarat High Court.

September 22, 2015: The trial concluded and the Supreme Court directed the SIT to submit its final report by May 31, 2015.

June 2, 2016: Ahmedabad trial court convicted 24 accused, while acquitting 36 others. It charged 11 with murder and 13 others for lesser offences. The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on June 6.

 

June 17, 2016: Eleven of the 24 people convicted were sentenced to life in jail while 12 others were given seven years of imprisonment. One convict has been sentenced to 10 years in jail.

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