[Zakia Jafri petition] Communal violence like lava from volcano, I lost my grandparents to it: Kapil Sibal to Supreme Court barandbench.com

11, Nov 2021 | Debayan Roy

Sibal, however, maintained that he does not want to accuse anyone and a message has to go that violence in the name of religion will not be tolerated.

[Zakia Jafri petition] Communal violence like lava from volcano, I lost my grandparents to it: Kapil Sibal to Supreme Court
Communal violence is an institutionalised problem and is like lava from a volcano which breeds revenge, Congress leader Senior Counsel Kapil Sibal told the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Sibal told the Court that he himself was a victim of communal violence as he lost his maternal grandparents to communal riots in what is now Pakistan during the partition riots.

“Communal violence is like lava erupting from a volcano and its an institutionalized problem. Whenever the lava touches a ground on earth it scars it and it becomes a fertile ground for future revenge. I lost my maternal parents to it in Pakistan. I am a victim of the same,” he said.

However, he maintained that he does not want to accuse anyone and a message has to go to the world that violence in the name of religion will not be tolerated.

“I don’t want to accuse A or B. A message must be sent to the world that this cannot be tolerated,” Sibal said.

The submissions were made on Jafri’s plea challenging the clean chit given by Special Investigation Team to Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was then the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

Sibal told a Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari that the SIT did not conduct proper investigation and the official records of the SIT would prove the same.

“I am referring to records which are official SIT records.. Question is has the SIT followed the procedure established by law in dealing with evidence before them which was disregarded and never probed,” he said.

Sibal further pointed out that the SIT itself had told the Supreme Court in 2009 that when they were looking at the complaint of Zakia Jafri, they were facing hurdles as no one was cooperating.

This culminated in the closure report, he submitted.

“SIT never seized any phones, never checked call data records, never checked how bombs were manufactured and it never took stock of the accused whereabouts. so whichever way you look at it, there has to be an investigation,” he further argued.

Sibal has clarified that he was not “targeting” any person of high rank in this case but only wanted an investigation since the closure report filed by SIT was incorrect.

Sibal further pointed said that there was a “larger conspiracy” since the bodies of the victims of Godhra train incident was brought into Ahmedabad early in the morning and the curfew was allegedly not imposed till 12.45 pm.

What was the police commissioner doing? Curfew was declared in Godhra but what about Ahmedabad? it was declared at 12.45 pm. Riots had already started in sola civil hospital. common element of this conspiracy was let uss teach a lesson to somebody. Here probe would be required which means probing phone records, seizing phones etc. I, for one, can say that magistrate and HC to not look at it puzzles me,” submitted Sibal.

The Bench, however, asked Sibal to substantiate and make arguments on grounds based on which the protest petition by Jafri against the clean chit was rejected by the lower courts.

The hearing is slated to continue on November 11, 2021.

Jafri had filed a complaint before the then Director General of Police of Gujarat in 2006, seeking registration of a First Information Report (FIR) under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including Section 302 (Punishment for Murder). The complaint was made against various bureaucrats and politicians, including then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi.

The intent to file the complaint was to “bring to notice the deliberate and intentional failure of the State machinery which helped perpetuate violence between 28.02.2002 and May 2002.”

The Supreme Court, in 2008, appointed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to submit a report on a number of trials in Gujarat Riots and subsequently also ordered the SIT to investigate the complaint that was filed by the petitioner.

In 2011, the SIT was directed by the Supreme Court to submit its closure report before the concerned Magistrate, and the petitioner was given the liberty to file her objections, if any, to the said report.

In 2013, after the petitioner was handed a copy of the same, she filed a petition opposing the closure report, which essentially gave a clean chit to several bureaucrats and politicians, including Narendra Modi.

The Magistrate upheld the SIT’s closure report and dismissed the petition filed by the petitioner. Aggrieved by this, the petitioner had approached the Gujarat High Court. In 2017, the High Court upheld the Magistrate’s decision and dismissed the petition filed by Jafri.

Jafri has challenged the same before the top court by way of the present plea.

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The original piece may be read here


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