Naroda Patiya massacre: Ex-minister among 32 convicted (Lead)

August 29th, 2012 - 2:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Ahmedabad, Aug 29 (IANS) A special court in Gujarat Wednesday convicted 32 people, including former BJP minister Mayaben Kodnani and Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi, for the massacre of 97 people in Naroda Patiya locality here during the 2002 riots.

The special court in Ahmedabad also acquitted 29 people.

This is the first time that a former minister has been convicted in a Gujarat riots case.

Welcoming the judgment, rights activist Teesta Setalvad said: “Truth has won.”

All those convicted, including Kodnani, have been charged under different sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 302 (murder) and 120B (conspiracy), a lawyer said.

The massacre took place a day after the Feb 27, 2002 Godhra train burning in which 59 people were burnt to death. A rioting mob had attacked Naroda Patiya, killing 97 Muslims. Witnesses told the court that Kodnani, who was legislator of the area and then women and child development minister, had been inciting the mob.

In 2009, the Supreme Court appointed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the case as well as other cases relating to the Gujarat riots in which 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed.

Babu Bajrangi was also accused of leading the mob that attacked the Naroda Patiya victims. He was caught on camera by Tehelka news boasting about his hand in the carnage.

Of the 64 people accused in the case, three died during trial. The remaining 61 accused were tried for murder, arson and rioting. Most of them were out on bail.

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