Three get 10 years RI in Naroda Patiya case

Three get 10 years RI in Naroda Patiya case

The Gujarat High Court on Monday sentenced three more convicts in the 2002 Naroda Patiya riots case to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment (RI).

Ninety-seven people were killed in an attack on February 28, 2002, in Ahmedabad's Naroda Patiya area. The incident occurred after 57 'kar sevaks', who were returning from Ayodhya, were charred to death in the Sabarmati Express near Godhra in Central Gujarat on February 26, 2002.

Naroda Patiya, a minority dominated locality, was home to over 2000 migrant workers from Karnataka and Maharashtra at the time of the incident.

The case was initially probed by the Gujarat Police, which charged 46 people for the massacre. However, in 2008, the Supreme Court ordered a SIT probe into the incident, wherein it was stated that a huge mob of around 1500-5000 people attacked the residents of the Naroda Patiya area.

In August 2012, a special court for SIT cases had sentenced 32 people, prominent among them were a former minister in the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat, Maya Kodnani, who was sentenced to life (28 years) and Babu Bajrangi who was given life imprisonment till death with a condition of remission.

Seven accused were given enhanced life imprisonment of 21 years, which they will serve after undergoing 10 years' imprisonment under Section 326 (causing grievous hurt) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The remaining accused were sentenced to simple life imprisonment (14 years), even as the trial court acquitted 29 others for lack of evidence.

Earlier in April, Maya Kodnani was acquitted by the Gujarat High Court, as charges against her could not be established. The high court had also acquitted Ganpat Nidawal and Vikram Chhara while commuting the life sentence of Babu Bajrangi to 21 years.

On Monday, the court sent convicts Umesh Bharwad, Padmendrasinh Rajput and Rajkumar Chaumal, to 10 years RI and a fine of Rs 1,000 each. All three were acquitted by the special court in 2012.