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No justice for riot victims if Modi becomes PM: Zakia

By Lalit K Jha
December 05, 2012 10:10 IST
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Victims of the Gujarat riots will not get any justice if Narendra Modi becomes India's prime minister, the wife of former Member of Parliament Ahsan Jafri, who was killed by a violent mob during the post-Godhra riots in Ahmedabad a decade ago, told United States lawmakers.

"If he (Modi) succeeds in becoming the prime minister, my hopes for justice, along with the hopes of hundreds of thousands of Gujarat victims, will be lost. I hope and pray that never happens," Zakia Jafri said at the Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

"Your denial to change his (Modi's) persona non grata status is very vital to keep my hopes alive," Jafri said in her statement, which was read out by her son-in-law Najid Hussain, while she was standing by his side.

Speaking on behalf of Gujarat riot victims, Zakia and her daughter Nishrin Hussain urged US lawmakers and the Obama administration not to grant Modi a US visa.

"I know in my heart that Chief Minister Narendra Modi is responsible for the killing of my husband. I know when my husband asked for help he was told, 'Jafri you are on your own. Save yourself if you can'," she said.

"I also know the Indian justice system may be slow, but it is robust. Had Chief Minister Modi resigned, or removed from the office, the wheels of justice would have moved freely and swiftly. But instead of leaving office, he doubled up his grip on power and has done everything to obstruct and deny justice to the victims myself," Jafri alleged.

Recounting the tragic hours of the day when her father was killed by the violent mob, Nishrin Hussain, who now is a US citizen, said, "I applaud the initiative of the Congresspersons in ensuring that the ban on Modi's visa continues to stay in place."

"Maintaining the longstanding US policy on Narendra Modi's visa is important for the ongoing struggle for justice in Gujarat," she said.

Speaking on behalf of the Coalition Against Genocide, Hyder Khan said the recent conviction of Member of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly Mayaben Kodnani and the indictment of Gujarat Minister Amit Shah is actually a damning indictment of the Modi administration.

"Barring a handful of convictions, the hundreds of perpetrators who roamed the streets of Gujarat in February and March of 2002 -- killing, raping and destroying property -- continue to evade the law," Khan alleged.

Shaik Ubaid, one of the founders of the coalition, said, "The revocation of Modi's visa by the US is the biggest impediment in Modi's grandiose plans for himself including becoming the prime minister of India".

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Lalit K Jha
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