Gujarat High Court on Friday upheld the life imprisonment awarded to Babu Bajrangi. However, the High Court acquitted former BJP minister Maya Kodnani, currently out of jail on bail. The decision was announced by a division bench of justices Harsha Devani and A S Supehiya. The court had reserved the order last August after the hearing concluded. In August 2012, a special court for SIT cases had sentenced 32 people, including former BJP minister Maya Kodnani, to life imprisonment. While Kodnani was earlier sentenced to 28 years of imprisonment, Bajrangi, a former Bajrang Dal leader, was handed life imprisonment till death.
The lower court had awarded life imprisonment of 21 years, which they will serve after undergoing 10 years’ imprisonment under IPC section 326 (causing grievous hurt).
The other remaining accused were given simple life imprisonment (14 years).
The trial court had acquitted another acquitted 29 other accused due to lack of evidence. The convicts had challenged the lower court’s order in the high court. On the other hand, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) appealed against the acquittal of 29 people.
In order to understand insights of the case, the High Court judges had visited the site of the incident in Naroda Patiya. As many as where 97 people from the Muslim community had been killed in the incident.
As reported by The Indian Express, a written submission by the Special Investigation Team had stated that at around 9:30 AM, “Dr Maya Kodnani, the MLA of the Ahmedabad’s Naroda Patiya area, after completing the mourn meeting in the Vidhan Sabha came near Noorani Masjid and as per the evidence on record she made some speech and said: “Kill Muslims, destroy the property of Muslims.”
The Naroda Patiya riot is considered one of the worst incidents which followed the Godhra train burning incident of February 27, 2002, in which 59 Vishwa Hindu Parishad members were were killed.