Should Modi have gone out with AK-47 to stop rioters: SIT counsel

Narendra ModiGujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi (PTI)
Continuing its defence of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the Supreme Court appointed-Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Friday rubbished Zakia Jafri's allegations that he was complicit in post-Godhra riots of 2002.

"What was Zakia expecting from accused number one (Modi)? That he should have gone with an AK-47 in his hand to control the rioting mob?" SIT counsel R S Jamuar told the special CBI court, which was hearing the matter for the third consecutive day following Jafri's petition challenging SIT's closure report that gave a clean chit to Modi and others.

SIT had probed into Jafri's charges that Modi and others had a role in the riots.

The lawyer for Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), Mihir Desai, objected to this and asked why SIT was defending Modi.

"I am not defending Modi. I am assessing the evidence," Jamuar replied.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Monday.

Zakia Jafri is the widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed in Gulberg Society by a rioting mob.

During his arguments today, Jamuar also rubbished Zakia's complaint for including issues pertaining to post-riot circumstances and appointment of allegedly biased public prosecutors for trials in rioting cases.

"Post-riots instances cannot be connected to what happened during the riots. The complaint should have been restricted to the commission of offence," Jamuar told the court.

He also underlined several points mentioned in the complaint as irrelevant such as collector's orders of closing down relief camps to facilitate early elections, transfers of IPS and IAS officers as rewards, among others.

Jamuar said IPS officers Rahul Sharma (whose affidavit has been included by Jafri as proof) and Vivek Srivastava (who had arrested a pro-BJP leader) were transferred to important posts soon after the riots.

Jamuar also rubbished retired DGP R B Sreekumar, saying he filed his affidavit only after he was superseded. He said Sreekumar was unhappy with the government and hence his affidavit.

The SIT counsel also argued there was no delay by the state government in calling in Army. "They wrote to central government that they had failed to control the situation. The then defence minister George Fernandes had arrived on time. The Army was called in, but it was deployed at the border following an attack on Parliament," Jamuar said.

"On February 28, a full police force was there at the Gulberg Society along with the station head officer (SHO) of Meghaninagar K G Erda. They were at the front gates of the society, but rioters broke through the wall on the backside and started the violence. What could have the police done?" Jamuar said.

Citing IPS officer Rahul Sharma's reported admission that Ehsan Jafri had opened fire on the mob, Jamuar said, "At least it was admitted that there was firing... there was procession. Under this circumstances, nothing could have been done."

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