Gujarat Court Acquits Maya Kodnani and 68 other Accused in 2002 Naroda Gam Massacre

The Naroda Gam case was among the nine major riots in Gujarat following the burning of the Sabarmati Express in Godhra on February 27, 2002.

Maya Kodnani

A special court in Ahmedabad on Thursday, 20 April, acquitted all accused in the 2002 Naroda Gam riots case of Gujarat, reported news agency PTI.

Former Gujarat minister and BJP leader Maya Kodnani and Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi are among those 86 accused in the case. Out of 86 accused, 18 have died

A special court in Ahmedabad Thursday acquitted all 69 accused, including former BJP MLA Maya Kodnani, ex-Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Jaydeep Patel, in the 2002 Naroda Gam massacre case where 11 members of a minority community were killed during communal riots.

The specially designated court of Judge Shubhada Krishnakant Baxi, constituted for speedy trial of the 2002 Gujarat riot cases, had concluded the proceedings on April 5.  ‘

Of the 86 accused in the case, 17 were abated during the course of the trial, leaving 69 accused to stand the trial. All the accused are currently out on bail. Nearly 182 prosecution witnesses were examined in the case.

A trial court had convicted both Kodnani and Bajrangi in the Naroda Patiya case and sentenced them to life imprisonment. However, the Gujarat High Court had overturned Kodnani’s conviction, acquitting her, and had upheld Bajrangi’s conviction in the Naroda Patiya case in 2018.

The Naroda Gam case was among the nine major riots in Gujarat following the burning of the Sabarmati Express in Godhra on February 27, 2002, in which a speedy day-to-day trial was ordered. The trials were committed to designated courts, and monitored by the Supreme Court — yet the Naroda Gam case has taken years to reach a verdict.

On February 28, 2002, 11 Muslims were burnt to death after mobs set their houses on fire in a locality known as Muslim Maholla, Kumbhar Vas, in the Naroda Gam area of Ahmedabad. An FIR was registered at the Naroda police station.

The Trial of Chicago 7 or the ‘trial of Bhima Koregaon and North-East Delhi Riots’? 

The report of the Justice Nanavati Commission that investigated the Gujarat riots, noted the statements of witnesses that “there was no police help received by the Muslims and they were simply at the mercy of the miscreants”, and that police help arrived only in the evening. However, several police officials deposed before the Commission that they were not able to reach Naroda Gam because they were managing the more serious situation at Naroda Patiya, which was unfolding at the same time.

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