A special Ahmedabad Court on Thursday acquitted all 68 accused, including former minister Maya Kodnani & Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi of murder, criminal conspiracy & rioting in the Naroda Gam massacre during the 2002 Godhra riots.
They were accused of killing 11 Muslims on February 28, 2002, a day after the Godhra train burning case.
There were a total of 86 accused in the case, but 18 of them died in the intervening period.
The accused were facing charges under Indian Penal Code sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapons), 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy), and 153 (provocation for riots), among others. The maximum punishment for these crimes is death.
What is the case about?
Eleven persons were killed in communal violence in Naroda Gam area of Ahmedabad city on February 28, 2002, during a bandh called to protest the Godhra train burning a day before in which 58 passengers, mostly Karsevaks returning from Ayodhya, were killed.
The prosecution and defence examined 187 and 57 witnesses, respectively, during the trial that started in 2010 and went on for nearly 13 years with six judges successively presiding over the case, said special prosecutor Suresh Shah.
In September 2017, senior BJP leader (now Union home minister) Amit Shah appeared as a defence witness for Maya Kodnani. (With PTI inputs)
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)