Ex-BJP MLA Maya Kodnani among 68 accused acquitted in Naroda Gam massacre case
Former BJP MLA Maya Kodnani and ex-Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi were among the accused in the Naroda Gam massacre.
A special court in Gujarat's Ahmedabad on Thursday acquitted all 68 accused in the 2002 Naroda Gam massacre of 11 members of the Muslim community during the communal riots. The special court for SIT cases acquitted all the accused in one of the major post-Godhra riots cases probed by a Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team.
Former BJP MLA Maya Kodnani, former VHP leader Jaydeep Patel, and ex-Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi were among the 86 accused, of which 18 died in the intervening period.
The accused were facing charges under Indian Penal Code sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapons), 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy), and 153 (provocation for riots), among others.
Eleven people belonging to the Muslim community were killed in the riots that broke out in the Naroda Gam area of Ahmedabad city during a bandh called to protest the Godhra train burning a day before in which 58 passengers, mostly Karsevaks returning from Ayodhya, were killed.
Maya Kodnani was made an accused in 2008 in the Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gam massacre cases by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the riots. In August 2012, a special SIT court sentenced her to 28 years in jail for her role in the Naroda Patiya massacre case. The Gujarat high court, however, acquitted the former BJP minister in April 2018 overturning the trial court's verdict.
In September 2017, senior BJP leader (now Union home minister) Amit Shah appeared as a defence witness for Maya Kodnani after she requested the court to summon him to prove her alibi in the Naroda Gam massacre case. Kodnani had said she was present in the Gujarat Assembly and later at the Sola Civil Hospital when the massacre took place.
(With inputs from agencies)
- Gujarat Riots 2002