Ahmedabad, June 17 (IANS) Zakia Jafri, the widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was among the 69 killed in the 2002 Gulberg Society massacre here, has expressed shock at the “triviality” of the life sentence awarded to 11 persons and seven-year jail term to 12 others in the case on Friday and called it “travesty of justice”.
“Is this a punishment? It is too small for such heinous killings, I am not going to take it lying down. I will stand up again like I have all these years and move the higher courts,” said Jafri, who is in her 70s.
Jafri, who had forced the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in the case to include then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi besides senior Indian POlice Service officials as the accused, asserted that the number of accused was itself too small given the hundreds of people involved in the gruesome killings.
During its investigation the SIT had questioned Modi for nine hours but he was let off later for want of material evidence.
Speaking to journalists in Surat on Friday, Jafri said: “I am not satisfied at all. All the convicts should have got life imprisonment. The battle is still on and we will fight till we get justice”.
“I am the person who saw with my own eyes the heinous killing of innocent people, not the court. They came well-prepared and attacked innocent people, they were all there for hours, nobody went home,” she added.
Special Sessions Court Judge P.B. Desai handed down life imprisonment to the 11 persons on the charge of murder under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. He sentenced one of 13 charged with lesser crime to 10 years and the remaining 12 persons, including local Vishva Hindu Parishad leader Atul Vaidya, to seven years. One person was sentenced to 10 years in jail.
The court had on June 2 convicted 24 of the total 60 accused in the case while finding 36 of them as “not guilty”. Jafri had wanted all 60 to be sentenced to life imprisonment till their death.