SC verdict in Zakia Jafri case deeply disappointing, says Congress

It recalls the top court’s earlier observation that conduct of Modi government in Gujarat was like a ‘modern day Nero’

June 27, 2022 08:53 pm | Updated June 28, 2022 07:38 am IST - New Delhi

File photo of Zakia Jafri

File photo of Zakia Jafri | Photo Credit: PTI

Three days after the Supreme Court rejected a petition to probe larger conspiracy behind the 2002 Gujarat riots, the Congress on Monday described the judgment as “deeply disappointing” and recalled that the top court had earlier observed that the conduct of the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat was like a “modern day Nero”

In a strongly worded statement, All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in-charge of communications, Jairam Ramesh, expressed the party’s solidarity with the family members of former Lok Sabha member, Ehsan Jafri, who was killed during a mob attack on the Gulberg Society.

“What happened to him in a most tragic manner was the result of a fundamental lapse on the part of the State government,” he said.

On Friday, a three-judge Bench of the top court had rejected a petition by Zakia Jafri, wife of Jafri, for a wider probe into the riots.

“The Supreme Court judgment in the Zakia Jafri case is deeply disappointing,” said Mr. Ramesh as he posed several questions in his statement.

“Was Shri Narendra Modi not the Chief Minister of Gujarat when the horrific riots took place in 2002? Why was PM [Atal Bihari] Vajpayee so affected by his lack of action that he had to publicly remind him to do his duty, to follow his ‘Rajdharma’?”asked the Congress.

“Was it not the Supreme Court which called out the conduct of the Modi government in Gujarat as that of ‘Modern day Nero’s [who] were looking elsewhere when… innocent children and helpless women were burning, and were probably deliberating how the perpetrators of the crime can be saved or protected’?” added the Congress leader.

Apart from mentioning that a section of the BJP, including Union Minister Smriti Irani had called for the dismissal of Mr. Modi, the AICC communication chief also pointed out that there have been numerous convictions on the basis of evidence collected by the Special Investigation Team (SIT).

“No amount of propaganda by the BJP can ever erase these facts,” he said.

‘Moral responsibility’

Reflecting on the top court’s order, the Congress also raised the issue of accountability and moral responsibility of the constitutional authorities under whose watch the riots took place.

“What is the constitutional and moral responsibility of the Chief Minister and the State government in cases of large-scale communal riots? Is the responsibility in such cases, only ever that of the Collector and the Deputy Commissioner of Police and not of political executive? Will the Chief Minister, Cabinet and State government never be held accountable, even if a State is thrown into a circle of violence and riots?” he asked.

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