Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cancer on cherished value of secularism, says court

Gujarat EDN
TOI 01SEP2012


Ahmedabad: A special court hearing the Naroda Patia massacre case on Friday termed the incident a “cancer for our cherished constitutional value of secularism” while announcing the quantum of punishment for 31 convicts in the bloodiest killing of the post-Godhra violence where 97 Muslims were hacked to death on February 28, 2002 in retaliation to the killing of 59 Hindus in Sabarmati Express a day earlier.
    Refusing to buy the theory that the Godhra carnage was the only factor responsible for the Naroda Patia massacre, the court observed that such violence cannot be tolerated in a democratic country governed by a secular constitution. It observed that though the genesis was in Godhra carnage, but the motive of the convicts was to commit crime by taking law in their hands.
    Sixty-one persons were tried in the case and 32 were held guilty. The court imposed life imprisonment on each of the accused except one, Suresh Netalkar, who was absent from court proceeding. The court awarded former minister Maya Kodnani 28 years, and life imprisonment until his natural death to former Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi. Seven others got 31 years for their participation in the killings.
    The court called the massacre a black chapter in the history of independent India. “It is a case of multiple murders, which have marked a black dot on the secular salient feature of the Constitution of India… It was the day of a cyclone of violence, one of the black chapters in the history of democratic India where violation of human rights and constitutional rights were publicly done by the assaulters on the victims.”
    Observing that communal violence cannot be tolerated in secular country like India, additional sessions judge Jyotsna Yagnik further said, “Every citizen of this country must understand that one lives in the society where rule of law very much survives.”
    The judge further observed, “Taking lives of persons just because those persons have faith in another religion is bound to be dangerous and strikes at the very root of the orderly secular society which the founding fathers of our constitution dreamt of.”