A special court in Ahmedabad designated for speedy trial of 2002 Gujarat genocide on Thursday acquitted all 67 accused, including former BJP MLA Maya Kodnani, ex-Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Jaydeep Patel, in the 2002 Naroda Gam massacre case where 11 Muslims were killed.
The verdict by special judge Shubhada Baxi was welcomed outside the court by chants of “Jai Shree Ram” and “Bharat Mata ki Jai” by the relatives of the accused.
On February 28, 2002, 11 Muslims were burnt to death after mobs set their houses on fire in a locality known as Muslim Maholla, Kumbhar Vas, in the Naroda Gam area of Ahmedabad.
Of the 86 accused in the case, 17 were abated during the course of the trial, leaving 69 accused to stand the trial. All the accused are currently out on bail.
Nearly 182 prosecution witnesses were examined in the case.
Several fact-finding reports have detailed Kodnani’s role in Naroda Patiya massacre. Narendra Modi was then the Chief Minister of Gujarat, who has been accused of abetting the anti-Muslim genocide.
A trial court had convicted both Kodnani and Bajrangi in the Naroda Patiya case and sentenced them to life imprisonment. However, the Gujarat High Court had overturned Kodnani’s conviction, acquitting her, and had upheld Bajrangi’s conviction in the Naroda Patiya case in 2018.
The Naroda Gam case was among the nine major riots in Gujarat following the burning of the Sabarmati Express in Godhra on February 27, 2002, in which a speedy day-to-day trial was ordered.