Jail for Kodnani, Bajrangi and Others

(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’)

We welcome the order of the Additional Principal Judge Jyotsna Yagnik on Friday, August 31, 2012, in which the BJP MLA Maya Kodnanai (a woman) has been sentenced to 28 years in jail. The court awarded Babu Bajrangi life imprisonment till death, while 30 other convicts were awarded life terms in the same case. Kodnani was found guilty, along with Babu Bajrangi, under Sections 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) and 302 (murder) of IPC.

Maya Kodnani was an MLA (on Bhartiya Janta Party’s ticket) in Gujarat state assembly at the time of the incident. She was made Minister of State for Women and Child Development in the Narendra Modi government in 2007. Babu Bajrangi was a leader of Bajrang Dal.

The Naroda Patiya massacre had taken place a day after the Godhra train burning incident of February 27, 2002 which had triggered the state-wide anti-Muslim carnage. On February 28, 2002 when a bandh call was given by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a large crowd, allegedly led by Maya Kodnani burnt to death 97 Muslims in Naroda Patiya area of Ahmedabad city in Gujarat, while 33 others were injured in the violence.

The court had conducted trial against 61 accused over 402 days. A total of 327 people were cross-examined during the trial. Total 32 accused were found guilty by the court.

(Key excerpts from the judgement)