AHMEDABAD: “Justice has been only half-delivered,” said Zakia Jafri, reacting to Thursday’s verdict by an Ahmedabad special court on the 2002 Gulberg Society massacre that left 69 people dead, including her husband Ehsan Jafri, a former Congress MP.
“Mujhe aur jaddojahad karna padega…mera case khatam nahi hua (I will have to make more efforts...the case is not over for me as yet),” the seventy-seven-year old widow said. “Of 66 accused, 24 have been convicted,” she told HT.
A visibly-disappointed Zakia, who had travelled from Surat to Ahmedabad for the judgment, questioned the rationale behind the acquittal of BJP corporator, Bipin Patel, suspected of being the main plotter behind the murderous attack. “Why corporator Bipin Patel has been acquitted? And also the police officer (Irda)…my battle will continue… it has been hard, but I will fight till my last breath,” she said.
Zakia, who now lives with son Tanveer in Surat following her husband’s death, said her fight for justice will continue. “I thought my battle will be over today… but I am not satisfied…I will soon move higher courts,” she said in one breath.
Her son Tanveer also voiced surprise over the verdict, pointing out that though it was “good” that 24 people have been convicted, “it is still hard to believe that just 11 people were responsible for this gruesome incident”.
But Bipin Patel termed the verdict as a “long-awaited relief”. “A big blot has been cleared from my head,” the councilor who has won three consecutive elections said.
Jayesh Patni, who was among those acquitted, said: “We have been saying there was no conspiracy behind the incident. We stand validated today.”
Reactions to the verdict were divided on political lines.