Ahmedabad: 67 accused in Gujarat Naroda Bhatia village massacre case, including former minister, have been acquitted. Former Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani, Bajrang Dal president Babu Bajrangi and former VHP president Jaideep Patel were among the accused.
Karasevaks from Gujarat went on a pilgrimage to Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Rama in UP in 2002. They were coming to Gujarat by train on February 27. Then a gang set fire to a train at Godhra. In this, 59 Karasevakars were burnt to death. Following this, religious riots broke out across the state. More than 1,200 people died. Most of them are minorities.
The day after this riot, 11 Muslims were burnt alive in Naroda Bhatia village in north Ahmedabad. In the Naroda Bhatia case, six people were convicted, including Maya Kodnani, a minister in Prime Minister Modi’s cabinet when he was Gujarat chief minister, and Babu Bajrangi of Bajrang Dal. Maya Kodnani was later acquitted by the Gujarat High Court after being sentenced to life imprisonment. However, there was no change in Babu Bajrangi’s sentence.
The Naroda village massacre case is one of the nine cases in which the Supreme Court ordered a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the Gujarat massacres. A Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by former CBI director RK Raghavan probed the case.
During the investigation of this case, 187 witnesses including victims and their relatives, doctors and police were examined. The investigation of this case, which started 14 years ago in 2009, was completed on the 5th, announced the Special Court First Session Judge SK Bakshi.
A total of 86 persons were accused in the first information report and charge sheet. While 18 of them died pending trial, one has already been acquitted. As a result, 67 people were charged. Today, the day of judgment, 65 of the 67 accused appeared in court. The accused were charged with murder, rioting, unlawful assembly and criminal conspiracy, and today the special court acquitted them all.
The special court did not disclose any reasons for the verdict. Upon the acquittal, relatives and supporters of the accused hailed the verdict and chanted “Jai Shri Ram” and “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”.