Ahmedabad, June 2: The Special Court on Thursday gave the verdict for the Gulbarg Massacre case. Fourteen years later, the horrors of the massacre still haunts the lives of the victims. A day after the Gujarat riots began, early morning on February 28, 2002, a huge mob of nearly 20,000 had gathered outside the gates of Gulbarg society shouting slogans. Several residents took refuge in Congress Member of Parliament, Ehsan Jafri’s home. Also Read - Suresh Raina Family Case: SIT Reacts on CSK Star's Concern, Says 'Conducting Raids at Various Locations'
Witnesses claim that Jafri made numerous calls to the police and some senior politicians, but they all went unanswered. By noon, the mob turned violent and broke inside the society. Six hours later, Jafri along with 69 others was hacked to death and their bodies burnt. Most of the houses in the society were set ablaze with the residents inside. (ALSO READ: 24 convicted, 36 let off in Gulbarg Society massacre case) Also Read - Sushant Singh Rajput Death CBI investigation Day 2: CBI Team at Actor’s Bandra House, After Questioning Siddharth Pithani, Cook
According to some accounts, Ehsan Jafri pleaded with the mob to spare the lives of the women and children hiding in his house. He was dragged out, beaten and eventually hacked to death. His wife and daughter now stay in Delaware, United States. The National Human Rights Commission filed a petition to the Supreme Court saying it was “deeply disturbed by recent press reports stating that the chargesheets filed thus far in respect of the Gulbarga Society and Naroda Patia incidents lack credibility in as much as they are reported to depict the victims of violence as the provocateurs.” Also Read - Sushant Singh Rajput Case: CBI Likely to Visit Late Actor’s Bandra House Today
In 2008, the Supreme Court directed the Gujarat government to appoint a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by former Central Bureau of Investigation Chief, R K Raghavan. The SIT submitted a report to the SC in May 2010 claiming that the massacre was a pre-planned conspiracy. The case was being heard in a trial court and was concluded last year in September. However, the Supreme Court stayed the verdict until May 31. (ALSO READ: 2002 Gulbarg massacre: Ahmedabad court likely to pronounce verdict today)
A total of 66 people were charged out of which six died during the course of the trial, 24 were convicted and 34 were acquitted. Among those acquitted are BJP councillor Bipin Patel and former police inspector K G Erda. Civil rights activist, Teesta Setalvad has assured the families of the victims that an appeal can be filed against those acquitted.