Ahmedabad: Had the former Gujarat minister and BJP MLA Maya Kodnani not instigated a mob, 96 persons from the minority community would not have been massacred in Naroda Patiya on 28 February 2002, a special court has concluded.
Kodnani, a former minister in Narendra Modi government, was awarded 28 years imprisonment by a special court on 31 August in the Naroda Patiya massacre.
“This court firmly believes that had the instigation not been done by A-37 (Maya Kodnani), had the offence not been abetted by her, the communal riots would not have spread at Naroda Patiya on such large scale,” designated judge Jyotsna Yagnik held in her 1,969-page judgement.
The judge provided a copy of her full judgement to all the convicts on CD. She awarded life terms to all 31 convicts, including Kodnani.
On the basis of the evidences and depositions of witnesses, the court also observed that “she (Kodnani) has played a role of instigating the Hindu mobs, thereby abetting the commission of offences by the co-conspirators. She has abetted formation of unlawful assembly to execute the conspiracy”.
In the judgement, the court has held that “Kodnani is one of the kingpins of the entire communal riot and the principal conspirators.”
Kodnani had defended that on the morning of 28 February 2002, as opposed to the claims of the witnesses, which pointed to her presence in Naroda Patiya, she was in the legislative assembly in Gandhinagar.
However, the court rejected her defence of alibi that she was in the assembly on that day.
“This court is of the opinion that Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad are twin cities and that it is hardly at a distance of 30km from Ahmedabad and therefore, if the accused was relieved at 8.40 am, it is not difficult for her to reach at Naroda Patiya site after 9 am,” the court has observed.
“In the record of this case, the witnesses have stated that all the disturbances were started and in fact reached its peak after the arrival of Kodnani. It stands proved beyond all reasonable doubt that she was present and has participated in the crime on that day,” the court further held.
“But she herself has not killed any of the Muslims. In the opinion of this court, she has worked in pursuance of conspiracy, which shows her pre-mediation or pre-consort with the co-accused,” it says.
“Her presence at the site of offence, selection of site of offence to be Muslim Chawls and religious place of Muslims and her overall conduct, including false explanation given by way of further statement, are all proving and linking her clearly with the abetment of offence committed by co-accused,” the judge has observed.
“She is therefore, held guilty at par with the offenders who have committed the offences of murders, attempt to murder, etc,” court has conluded.