Naroda Massacre Case: All 86 Accused Including Former BJP Minister Maya Kodnani Acquitted

All the 86 accused in the Naroda incident during the 2002 Gujarat riots were acquitted by the sessions court in Ahmedabad. 

In the verdict pronounced on Thursday, 21 years after the incident, the court said – Sufficient evidence has not been found to prove the guilt of the accused. 

The lawyer of the aggrieved party, Shamshad Pathan said – We will challenge this decision in the High Court.

On 28 February 2002, 11 people were killed in communal violence at Naroda village near Ahmedabad city. 

In this case, a case was registered against 86 people including former Gujarat government minister and BJP leader Maya Kodnani, Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Jaideep Patel. Of these, 17 people have died.

Judge SK Bakshi’s court had on April 16 fixed April 20 as the date of verdict in the case. All the accused were out on bail. 

During the trial that began in 2010, both sides examined 187 witnesses and 57 eye-witnesses. In this case which lasted for almost 13 years, 6 judges heard the case continuously.

On the next day of Godhra incident i.e. on February 28, bandh was announced in Naroda village. 

Meanwhile, at around 9 am in the morning, the crowd of people started closing the market, only then the violence broke out. 

The people involved in the crowd started arson, sabotage along with stone pelting. 11 people were put to death on sight.

After this, riots spread in Patiya as well. Massacres took place here too. 97 people were killed in these two areas. 

After this massacre, riots spread all over Gujarat. In this case, the SIT had made the then BJP MLA Maya Kodnani the main accused. However, Kodnani has been acquitted in this case.

Maya Kodnani had said ” I was in the Gujarat assembly in the morning on the day of the riots. In the afternoon, i reached the civil hospital to see the bodies of the kar sevaks killed in the Godhra train carnage. While some eyewitnesses had testified in the court that i was present in Naroda during the riots and had instigated the mob”.

The High Court has also acquitted Maya Kodnani in a case of 2002 riots. Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi’s sentence was reduced from life imprisonment to 21 years. 

In this case, then BJP President and current Union Home Minister Amit Shah also appeared as a defense witness for Maya Kodnani.

Shah had given a statement that the police had taken him and Maya to a safe place as an angry mob surrounded the hospital.

In 2002, a tragic incident took place at Godhra station in Gujarat. The Sabarmati Express had just started from Godhra station to go to Ahmedabad when someone stopped the train by pulling the chain and then the stone pelting started. 

Later the S-6 coach of the train was set on fire. There were 59 pilgrims returning from Ayodhya in the coach, all of them died.

More than a thousand people were killed in the post-Godhra riots, of which 790 were Muslims and 254 were Hindus.

 On February 28, a day after the Godhra carnage, 69 people were killed by an unruly mob in Gulberg Housing Society, Ahmedabad. 

These riots worsened the situation in the state to such an extent that the army had to be deployed on the third day to control the situation.

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