‘Mob dragged my husband, stripped him and chopped off his limbs before burning him alive; pregnant woman fatally stabbed'

Zakia Jaffrey, wife of the former Congress MP, Ehsan Jafffey, on Friday broke down in court while describing how her husband was brutally killed by a mob during the Gulberg Society massacre here on February 28, 2002.

Deposing before special court of B.U. Joshi, Ms. Jaffrey could not hold back her tears as she narrated how her husband was dragged by the mob, which stripped him and chopped off his limbs before burning him alive.

She also described the horror she and other members of the society underwent on being attacked by the mob of more than 3,000 on February 28, 2002, the very next day of train burning at Godhra.

Following the Godhra incident, communal riots broke out in Gujarat.

Ms. Jaffrey said that many society members had taken shelter in her house as her husband was a former MP. But the mob broke the gate and wall of the society building and started attacking people with swords and other weapons.

A large number of people were killed and their bodies were scattered all over the compound.

Bodies mutilated

Only after the police arrived in the evening, did she come down from the first floor and see on the veranda the mutilated bodies of her neighbour Kasambhai's wife and his pregnant daughter-in-law, who had been stabbed in the abdomen with a sword, said Ms. Jaffrey. The foetus had come out. She also saw five or six bodies lying in the backyard.

When special public prosecutor R.C. Kodekar asked whether she knew how many people died in the entire incident, Ms. Jaffrey replied in the negative. Even now she would not know how many were killed in and around her house that day.

How many people did the police save? She said there was no question of anyone being saved as most of them had been killed before the police arrived around 5 p.m.

During cross-examination, defence lawyer Mitesh Amin asked Ms. Jaffrey whether she could name one of the persons whose mutilated body she had seen in her compound.

“Why don't you ask about those who beheaded my husband?” she shot back. She said she had seen, from the first-floor window, the mob brutally killing her husband.

‘I didn't take help from Teesta Setalvad'

Mr. Amin questioned Ms. Jaffrey about Teesta Setalvad, secretary of the Mumbai-based Citizens for Justice and Peace, which has been providing legal help to some of the riot victims. She, however, denied having taken any legal help from Ms. Setalvad. Her affidavits and other documents were prepared by her son, Tanveer, with whom she has been staying since 2002.

Police visit

To another question, Ms. Jaffrey said she only heard that the then Ahmedabad Police Commissioner, P.C. Pande, had come to the Gulberg Society in the morning on February 28, 2002 and talked to her husband.