Ehsan Jafri’s widow breaks down as she recalls Gulberg Society carnage

Friday, October 22, 2010

AHMEDABAD - Ehsan Jafri was dragged out of his house by a murderous mob, that stripped him, chopped off his limbs before burning him alive, a sobbing Zakia Jafri told the court here Friday while recounting how her husband, a former Congress MP, was killed during the attack on Gulberg Society in the 2002 riots.

Zakia also described before the special court of Judge B.U. Joshi the horror that she and other member of the society had to face on Feb 28, 2002, when they were under attack by an armed mob of over 3,000 people on the very next day of Godhra train burning incident.

A total of 69 people were killed in the Gulberg Society carnage.

Zakia said that on the day, many of the society members had taken shelter in their house as her husband was a former MP.

She said that an angry mob broke the gate and wall of the society and started attacking people with swords and other weapons. A number of people were killed by the mob and their bodies were scattered all over her house, she added.

Zakia told the court that after police came in the evening, she came down from the first floor of her house and saw in the veranda, the mutilated bodies of her neighbour Kasambhai’s wife and her pregnant daughter-in-law. The latter had been stabbed in the abdomen with a sword and the foetus had come out of the body.

Zakia further said that she also saw five to six bodies lying in the backyard of her house. Asked by special public prosecutor R.C. Kodekar if she knew how many people had died in the entire incident, Zakia said even today she could not say how many died near her house.

When Kodekar asked how many people the police saved that day, Zakia replied that there was no question of saving anybody as most of them were killed before the police arrived around 5 p.m.

During cross examination, defence lawyer Mitesh Amin asked Zakia if she could name one of the people whose mutilated body she had seen in her compound. “Why don’t you ask about those who beheaded my husband,” Zakia asked Amin, saying that she had seen people brutally killing her husband from the window on the first floor of her house.

Amin also questioned Zakia about Teesta Setalvad who runs NGO Citizen for Justice and Peace, which has been providing legal help to some of the riot victims. Zakia, however, denied taking any legal help from Setalvad or her former associate Rais Khan.

She said all her affidavits and other documents were prepared by her son Tanveer Jaffri, with whom she has been staying since 2002.

She also said that she has heard that the then city police commissioner P.C. Pande had come to the society in the morning and spoken to her husband on that day.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

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