Sunday, November 25, 2012

21 yrs for ‘crossing limits of inhumanity’

Gujarat EDN
TOI 01SEP2012


Ahmedabad:The special court awarded harsher punishment to nine convicts for their roles in the massacre with observation that their “gruesome and barbaric acts crossed all limits of inhumanity”.
    Instead of the normal term of 14 years in simple life imprisonment for charges of murder, conspiracy and unlawful assembly, the court awarded 18 years to former minister Maya Kodnani, life till his death for former Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi and 21 years to seven others, namely Naresh Chhara, Morli Sindhi, Haresh Rathod, Suresh Langado, Premchand Tiwari, Manoj Sindhi and Bipin Panchal.
    “It was made blood day of massive onslaught and the day of horrendous carnage. It is true the predominant feeling among the convicts was revenge of the Godhra carnage, but that amounts to taking law into one’s own hands which cannot be taken lightly by court,” the judge observed.
    The convicts were found to have participated in all three acts of major violence on February 28, 2002. “This reveals their commitment, tremendous bias and their throughout involvement in the crime that went on for the entire day…These accused are such who have not spared a single minute of that day for any other task of their lives right from 9.30 am to 8 pm, they were at the site unceasingly and continuously committing the crimes,” the court noticed.
    The court concluded that since these nine persons have shown no consideration for human lives, they deserved different treatment for their peculiar contribution. Why should their plea for leniency be heard, when victims cries did not appeal to them, the court said.
Tension as stiff sentences were handed down
Ahmedabad: The situation outside the SIT court trying the Naroda Patia massacre case was tense on Friday, with angry relatives of convicts in the worst post-Godhra riot case resorting to anti-government sloganeering.
    The court turned into a literal police fortress. Relatives lunged at the police vehicle, desperately holding on to it as it carried away the convicts at 6.45 pm. Relatives of BJP MLA Maya Kodnani and Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi, the two high-profile accused in the massacre, stood by the side, crying and following the police vehicle.
    From 10 am onwards, angry relatives of convicts besieged the court entrance demanding that they be allowed to enter and meet their dear ones. The time for pronouncing the judgment was then postponed from 11.15 am to 3 pm as the restless crowd made a second attempt to enter.
    Slogans of “Modi Sarkar Hai Hai. BJP Hai! Hai!” interspersed the wails. Additional police forces was called in by 1.30 pm to form two security cordons.