Ahmedabad: After the Gujarat High Court acquitted 17 out of the 32 convicted in the 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre - including Maya Kodnani, senior BJP leader and a minister in Narendra Modi's cabinet when he was chief minister of the state, a victim on Friday while expressing surprise asked did they kill their children.
“Eight members of our family were killed before our eyes. If they are innocent, did we kill our children? Maya Kodnani has been declared innocent, two years later Babu Bajrangi will be acquitted,” the victim said according to news agency ANI.
Naroda Patiya victim's outbursts came after Gujarat High Court acquitted former Maya Kodnani and others in the case. Besides Kodnani, 16 others including her personal assistant Kirpal Singh Chabda, were also acquitted, while the conviction of 12 including Babu Bajrangi was upheld.
Maya Kodnani, a gynaecologist, was sentenced to a life term in 2012 for her role in the riots in Naroda Patiya, a suburb of Ahmedabad, where about 97 Muslims were massacred in the single bloodiest episode of the three-day violence that followed the Godhra train burning of February 27, 2002.
A Special Investigation Team had said that a day after the Godhra incident, Maya Kodnani incited mobs and was seen at the spot by witnesses. A trial court had held that she organised the mass killings. Maya Kodnani is also accused of murder in the riots that took place on the same day, February 28, 2002, in nearby Naroda Gram, where 11 Muslims were killed.
Narendra Modi won the Gujarat elections held soon after the deadly anti-Muslim riots and Maya Kodnani was made the Minister for Woman and Child Development.
The Gujarat High Court’s verdict came a day after Supreme Court of India dismissed a number of petitions seeking probe into the death of Justice Loya. Justice Loya died mysteriously when he was hearing a case in which BJP President Amit Shah was an accused. A day before the Supreme Court ruling on Justice Loya’s death probe, a Special NIA Court had acquitted all the accused named for Mecca Masjid Blast case in Hyderabad.
Earlier, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur whose motorcycle was used in the 2008 Malegaon blast according to the charge sheet, and Lt Col Prasad Prohit and others accused in various blast cases were also let off - some on bail and some acquitted.
Disbelief, surprise and shock were also seen on Twittere after the acquittal of Maya Kodnani and others in the Naroda Patiya Muslim massacre case by Gujarat High Court Friday.
“Unbelievable. Maya Kodnani acquitted despite eye witness testimonies of her exhorting the crowd, distributing swords and kerosene. Every Indian should feel ashamed”, Harinder Baweja, senior journalists, tweeted minutes after the judgment.
“Incredible. Maya Kodnani acquitted just like Sajjan Kumar was, despite unwavering witnesses who withstood money and muscle power. #1984 #2002 continue to sear India's conscience”, Baweja wrote in another message posted on Twitter.
Ashok Swain who introduced himself as ‘Professor of Peace But Not Conflict’ using his verified account on Twitter @ashoswai wrote, “I have told you before - it is absolutely OK to kill Muslims in Modi's New India, but don't kill a Cow!”
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