Gujarat HC to pronounce verdict on Naroda Patiya massacre

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The Gujarat High Court is likely to pronounce its verdict on appeals in the 2002 Naroda Patiya riot case today. A division bench of justices Harsha Devani and AS Supehiya 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. Kodnani was sentenced to 28 years of imprisonment. Another high-profile accused, former Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi, was given life imprisonment till death.

The Gujarat High Court is likely to pronounce its verdict today on a clutch of high-profile appeals in the Naroda Patiya massacre – one of the most controversial cases from the 2002 post-Godhra riots.

The focus is going to be on former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Maya Kodnani, who served as a minister in the state government for around two years, and who was convicted in this case as a ‘kingpin’ by a lower court. Kodnani was sentenced to 28 years in prison.

She has appealed against her conviction, along with all 31 other convicts – including former Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi who was awarded life imprisonment with a condition of remission.

Naroda Patiya riot is one of the worst incidents which followed the Godhra train burning incident of February 27, 2002, in which 59 kar sevaks were killed.

Kodnani is currently out on bail. The trial court had held that she was the mastermind of the violence in Naroda area.  A number of high court judges including justices Akil Kureshi, MR Shah, KS Jhaveri, GB Shah, Sonia Gokani and RH Shukla recused themselves from the case during the hearing on appeals.

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