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Gujarat Riots: Verdict may come today in Naroda Gam riots, 11 people were killed, 18 accused have died

Pankaj Prasad
Naroda Gam riots
Naroda Gam riots

Eleven people were killed in the 2002 riots. A case has been registered against 86 accused in the case.

A special court in Ahmedabad is likely to pronounce its verdict today in the Naroda Gam riots case of Gujarat. The court of Special Justice SK Bakshi will pronounce the verdict against 68 accused. On 28 February 2002, 11 people were killed in communal violence in the Naroda Gam area of Ahmedabad city. A case has been registered against 86 accused in this case. However, out of 86, 18 people have died so far. Former Gujarat minister and BJP leader Maya Kodnani and Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi are also among the 86 accused facing trial.

Special prosecutor Suresh Shah said the prosecution and defense examined 187 and 57 witnesses, respectively, during the trial that began in 2010 and has been heard by six judges in the case that lasted nearly 13 years. In September 2017, BJP's Senior leader (now Union Home Minister) Amit Shah appeared before the court as a defense witness for BJP leader Maya Kodnani. Kodnani had requested the court to summon her to prove that she was present at the Gujarat Assembly on the day of the incident and later at the Sola Civil Hospital and not at Naroda Gam, where the massacre took place.

The evidence produced by the prosecution includes a video of a sting operation conducted by journalist Ashish Khaitan and call details of Kodnani, Bajrangi and others during that time. When the trial began, SH Vora was the presiding judge. He was later promoted to the Gujarat High Court. His successors Jyotsna Yagnik, KK Bhatt and PB Desai have retired during the trial.

Significantly, on February 27, 2002, a train full of kar sevaks was returning from Ayodhya, which was attacked. 58 kar sevaks were killed in the Godhra train incident. A day later, there was violence in Naroda Gam area of Ahmedabad city.