2002 Gujarat Riots: Special Court acquits Maya Kodnani, all other accused in Naroda Gam Massacre

This is the second case where Kodnani has been acquitted. She was convicted by a trial court in the Naroda Patiya case but later acquitted by the Gujarat High Court.
Maya Kodnani
Maya KodnaniFacebook

A special court in Ahmedabad Thursday acquitted all the 68 accused including prime accused and BJP's ex-MLA Maya Kodnani, booked for the 2002 Naroda Gam massacre case, wherein 11 members of the Muslim community were killed during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Special Judge Shubhada Baxi acquitted all the accused including Kodnani, former Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Jaydeep Patel and ex- Bajrang Dal member Babu Bajrangi.

Confirming the development, Kodnani's counsel Amit Patel said, 

"The special court designated to hear the riots cases has acquitted all the accused. The court's reasoning is yet to be known as the judgment copy is not made available but yes it can be said that our contentions of my client and all other accused were falsely implicated, has been accepted by the special court."

The case dates back to February 2002 when Gujarat witnessed the worst ever communal riots in various parts of the State. The Naroda Gam case was one among the nine major riots cases the State witnessed in the aftermath of the burning of Sabarmati express train in Godhra in February 2002. 

As per the prosecution case, Kodnani, Patel and Bajrangi along with locals in the Naroda Gam's popular Muslim Mohalla had set houses of Muslims ablaze. The leaders of BJP, Bajrang Dal and VHP were accused of instigating the rioters to kill the minority community people in the vicinity. 

Soon after the incident, a committee under Justice Nanavati was constituted to probe the case. The committee in its report concluded that the police did not help the Muslims in Naroda Gam area and that the leaders like Kodnani, Patel, Bajrangi etc instigated the miscreants. It also highlighted the fact that the police were not present in adequate numbers and also was not properly equipped to control the situation on ground. 

The Police, however, maintained that it was busy controlling other, more violent riots in nearby Naroda Patiya. 

Initially, there were total of 86 accused in this case. However, during trial, at least 18 of them died leaving behind only 68. 

Notably, Kodnani and Bajrangi were both convicted in the Naroda Patiya case and were sentenced to 28 years in jail. However, the Gujarat High Court reversed the trial court's findings and acquitted her from all the charges in that case. 

Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news