We are no longer new to riots in the name of religion accompanied by hate speeches and violence that destroys thousands of lives in the spur of the moment. Talking about riots, the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind would be ‘Gujarat riots 2002’. Even the name is enough to give you goosebumps. 15 years since the events, it still has the power to enrage, agonize and shame us. Here is the list of outbreaks of communal riots and their current status.
On March 1, 2002, a mob of 100 people hounded the residents of a village in Panchamahals district. Most of the residents flew away but seven people who ran in the field were attacked. Among the seven -five men were killed, while two women – Shabana and Suhana – were raped and killed. The victim’s mother who witnessed everything by hiding behind the tree filed a complaint with the Halol police and approached the Gujarat High Court for justice.
Status: A Godhra court sentenced life imprisonment to eight people and three-year rigorous imprisonment to three others.
According to prosecution, following the riot a group of Muslims in Makarpura locality had deserted their home fearing attack. On March 17, 2002, a batch of Muslims, under police protection, returned to their place to collect luggage to their relief camps. In the night, when they were loading the trucks with luggage a mob of about 5,000 people gathered at the area and started pelting stones on them. Most of the injured Muslims managed to escape but two youths who were riding on the motorcycle were chased and killed with swords.
Status: In 2005, in the Vadodara fast-track court, Judge CM Atodaria blamed the police for not providing proper security and failing to identify the attackers. 108 people accused of murdering the two were acquitted.
On April 2002, a Muslim mob conducted riot near Ekta Nagar residential society in Danilimda locality. The mob killed Piyush Mehta and injured Ravinder Damor, both residents of Ektanagar.
Status: Nine people were convicted in the case, while 25 others were acquitted. Prime accused Mustaq Kaniyo was awarded 10 years rigorous imprisonment for killing one and injuring other. While the eight others – Mehtabraza Islam Saiyed, Rahim Ibrahim Tharda, Haroon Younis Ganyavni, Haji Mohammed Karim Chipa, Yakub Musa Patel, Mohammed Ajimkhan Pathan, Khurshid, Sagir Ahmed Ansari -were awarded 18 months imprisonment and Rs 3,000 fine for possessing weapons and rioting.
Naroda Patiya Massacre
The massacre took place on February 28, 2002 at Naroda in Ahmedabad. A mob of approximately 5,000 killed 97 people. The mob murdered, looted, sexually assaulted and gang-raped people. Allegations were made against the state police, state government, the then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi and Bajrang Dal, citing their involvement in the massacre. Following the incident, a curfew was imposed and army troops were called to stop any further violence.
The trial court initially sentenced Gujarat minister and BJP leader Maya Kodnani to 28 years imprisonment. But in July 2014, suspended the case taking in consideration her ill health. Former MP Ehsan Jafri was killed in the attack. His wife Zakia Jafri later filed a petition challenging the lower court’s verdict giving clean chit to the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi and others involved in the case.
Status: The Gujarat High Court is hearing appeals in the case. Maya Kodnani, in an attempt to prove her innocence and that she was not present at the crime site, submitted an application seeking to summon eight people including BJP President Amit Shah as defence witnesses. On May 1, 2017, Division bench of justices Harsha Devani and AS Supehiya asked Kondani’s lawyer to reconsider the application. The Special Investigaton Team (SIT) which has so far investigated the riot cases has also opposed Kondani’s application.