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Gujarat HC Acquits 18 Out of 32 Convicted For the Naroda Patiya Massacre, Maya Kodnani Walks Free

Vivan Eyben |
The trial court had observed before that the former BJP MLA Maya Kodnani was the ‘kingpin’ behind the massacre, the HC has acquitted her.
Maya Kodnani

Image Courtesy: twitter

The Gujarat High Court, in a surprise move, today acquitted 18 people including the then BJP MLA Maya Kodnani in the Naroda Patiya massacre case. The Court however, upheld the sentence of the remaining 13 persons accused of orchestrating the massacre that had taken place during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

The trial court had handed out convictions to 32 persons out of the 61 accused, and had observed that Maya Kodnani was the ‘kingpin’ in the sordid affair.

Following the attack on the Sabarmati Express on February 27, 2002 in which 59 kar sevaks were burned to death in the train, Hindutva organisations in Gujarat had called for a state-wide bandh. The next day mobs began to gather in different parts of Gujarat. In Ahmedabad, a mob of around 1,500 people gathered in the Naroda Gam. According to reports, Kodnani and the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Jaideep Patel reached the spot, and made speeches – inciting the mob to take revenge. After the two had left, the mob went on a rampage, committing rapes, loot, arson and murders. The mosque at Naroda Gam was burnt down. The mob then shifted their attention to Nardoda Patiya, a neighbourhood nearby. It was here that the mob continued their pillaging in which, 97 people were killed.

After a Supreme Court-appointed SIT submitted its report, out of 61 people named in the chargesheet, 32 were convicted and 29 were acquitted by the trial court. Subsequently, 11 appeals were submitted to the High Court. The High Court had reserved its Judgement in June 2017 for pronouncement at a later date. The Court had decided to visit the locality where the Naroda Patiya massacre had taken place. They had also warned the media not to cover the visit and that if they did, the Court would consider it as an interference in its proceedings.

Below are some of the other cases related to the carnage Gujarat witnessed after the attack on the Sabarmati Express.

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