Hearing to hearing for seven years, seeking justice for her husband

Tears streamed down Zakia Jafri's cheeks as magistrate B J Ganatra came out of his chamber around 4 pm and told her she could go to a higher court as he had rejected her petition protesting the clean chit given to Narendra Modi.

Zakia, 74, had spent five hours in the court Thursday, one of several such days in the last seven years that have seen her travelling from Surat to Ahmedabad to Delhi and trying to convince courts that Modi and others should be prosecuted for the 2002 Gulberg Society attack, in which her husband, Congress MP Ahsan Jafri, was among those killed.

"There is enough evidence against the accused," she said. "We will challenge the order. The judge said only said that my petition has been rejected, and I can go to higher court."

Before the ruling, she had said, "I have been fighting for 11 years (seven of these in courts) and the fight seems endless, but I have always been positive. I have left it on God since 2002 and He always does justice to the good."

Daughter of a wealthy landlord in Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh, she and Ahsan Jafri started life in Gujarat in an Ahemdabad chawl. That home was destroyed in the 1969 riots and they moved to the nearby Gulberg Society, then under construction. The bungalow they moved into was roofless then.

"My mother hadn't seen even a quarrel in her MP home, but in Gujarat she witnessed two riots," says her son Tanveer Jafri. "The one in 1969 shook her confidence, and the second in 2002 snatched her husband but restored her confidence to fight."

Tanvir and Zakia arrived from Surat at 11 am Thursday, accompanied by a number of lawyers and activist Teesta Setalvad. Sitting with her was Father Cedric Prakash, the Jesuit priest who runs the human rights group Prashant in Ahmedabad, and Rupa Mody, mother of Azhar, a boy who went missing from Gulberg Society, and whose story inspired the film Parzania, banned in Gujarat.

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