Activists hail verdict, witnesses' courage
Families of people killed in the Naroda Patiya massacre in 2002, those who survived the killings and rights activists hailed the special trial court's verdict convicting senior BJP MLA Maya Kodnani and 31 others on Wednesday.
"We welcome this order. The raw courage of the victim witnesses, especially women witnesses who deposed fearlessly while still residing in Naroda Patiya is a reflection of the confidence generated after the Supreme Court monitoring," said rights activist Teesta Setalvad whose NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace has been fighting for the victims in court.
Shamshad Pathan, a lawyer associated with Jan Sangharsh Manch, another NGO helping the riots victims, also heaped praise on the witnesses whose resolve helped lead to the conviction of those found guilty.
"We have ensured that all witnesses were given protection so that they could depose before the court without any fear," he said, adding that the conviction of 32 persons was the largest number of those found guilty in any of the 2002 riots cases in Gujarat so far.
Gujarat BJP general secretary Vijay Rupani refused to comment on the verdict.
Outside the old high court premises where the trial was conducted, witnesses and victims of the massacre case rejoiced after they received news of the conviction.