On Thursday, a special court in Ahmedabad found all 69 accused, including former BJP MLA Maya Kodnani, former Bajrang leader Dal Babu Bajrangi and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Jaydeep Patel, not guilty in the case. of the 2002 Naroda Gam massacre.
The violence occurred on February 28, 2002, during a bandh that was organized to protest the Godhra train burning incident. The incident, which took place the day before, resulted in the deaths of 58 passengers, mostly Karsevaks returning from Ayodhya.
The case involved the killing of 11 members of a minority community during communal riots. The verdict was delivered by special judge Shubhada Baxi at around 5:30 p.m. and the accused’s relatives greeted him with chants of “Jai Shree Ram” and “Bharat Mata ki Jai” outside the court.
The Naroda Gam massacre case involved 86 individuals who were initially accused, with one person being discharged earlier by the court.
On April 20, 2023, a special court in Ahmedabad acquitted all 69 accused, including former Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani, former VHP leader Jaydeep Patel, and ex-Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi. It is worth noting that all the accused were out on bail at the time of the verdict.
The trial, which began in 2010, lasted nearly 13 years and had six different judges presiding over the case. The prosecution and defence examined 187 and 57 witnesses, respectively.
What is Naroda Gam massacre case?
The Naroda Gam case was one of the nine major riots that occurred in Gujarat after the Sabarmati Express was burned on February 27, 2002. In response, a speedy day-to-day trial was ordered, with the trials committed to designated courts and monitored by the Supreme Court. Despite these measures, the Naroda Gam case took years to reach a verdict.
On February 28, 2002, a mob of about 5,000 people, mainly Hindus, invaded the Muslim-majority area of Naroda Gam. The mob attacked area residents with swords, knives and other weapons, killing 11 people and injuring many others. The violence was said to be directed by various leaders associated with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the Bajrang Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
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