Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Naroda accused says wife Muslim, pleads innocence

Suresh Dedawala, who was caught in a sting operation
bragging about his “heroics’’ in the massacre of 97 Muslims during the
2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in Naroda-Patia, has cited his wife’s Muslim
faith to argue that he was not involved in the killings.
He argued he would not participate in any violence against Muslims
since his wife belonged to the minority community. He told the court
that he was falsely implicated because Muslims in the neighbourhood
did not like him marrying a girl from their community.
The charges framed by the special court describe how he led a mob
that burnt alive Zarina, Nasim, Khairun, Bilkis, Sharif, Iqbal and
Salim. He is also charged with killing three children. Eyewitness
accounts also accuse him of torching seven members of Abdul Majid’s
family alive in their house.
Dedawala has been named by 63 witnesses who described his
aggression throughout the day. Even other highprofile accused like
Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi were named by only 10 and 14
eye-witnesses respectively. When contacted, Dedawala and his wife
refused to talk. The couple lives with its 14-year-old daughter,
Richelle, and eight-year-old son, Richardson.

The special court is likely to pronounce the final verdict in the
Naroda-Patia case on Saturday. Sixty-one people, including former
minister Maya Kodnani and Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi, were tried
for the massacre. The prosecution examined 327 witnesses, including
174 injured people. The prosecution claimed that this was a
pre-planned conspiracy. The trial lasted for more than two-and-a-half