Sunday, December 2, 2012

Riots peaked after Kodnani’s arrival: Court

Gujarat EDN
DNA  04SEP2012

Special court said that Maya Kodnani had done nothing to restore peace in the riot-torn Naroda Patia
Nikunj Soni l Ahmedabad
Special judge Dr Jyotsna Yagnik who conducted the trial in the Naroda Patia murder case, noted in her verdict that, according to eyewitnesses, the riots had intensified and peaked after the arrival of Naroda MLA Maya Kodnani. The court also set aside Kodnani’s defence that she was at the Gujarat assembly during the massacre and that she had become a victim of political conspiracy.

“As far as Kodnani and other leaders of the communal riot are concerned, and as far as other accused leaders who were admittedly members of the Peace Committee of the Sardarnagar police station and Naroda police station are concerned, they have not been found to have done any act of a peace agent or a pacifying agent,” said the court in its judgment. “The CD provided by the accused [Kodnani] shows that the accused was in the Legislative Assembly up to 8:40 a.m. of February 28, 2002. This court is of the opinion that Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad are twin cities and that it is hardly at a distance of 30 km from Ahmedabad,” the court said.

It further said that if Kodnani was relieved at 8:40 a.m. (as had been claimed by her), it could not have been difficult for her to reach Naroda Patia after 9 a.m. “In the records of this case, the witnesses have stated that all the disturbances were started and, in fact, reached a peak after the arrival of Kodnani,” the court said.

It further said that if Kodnani had not provoked Hindus (as had been argued by the defence), then there was nothing on record to show that she had played the role of a pacifying agent. “She had not done anything to stop the massacre; she had not instructed even the police officers to stop the lawlessness at the site,” the court observed.

Regarding the role of the state police in shielding Kodnani, the court said: “This court is not sitting in an ivory tower and is conscious of the hard realities of the system. In the system, normally if a police officer knows the desire of the political leader, the officer would not leave a single stone unturned to give all colours to such desire.” The court further said that to respect and to give ‘colours’ to the desire of Kodnani, the police had taken all care to ensure that the statements of all the eyewitnesses repeated the same thing.
Gujarat EDN
DNA  04SEP2012
‘No accused doesn’t mean there was no gangrape’
Judge ordered govt to pay a rape victim Rs5 lakh as compensation
DNA Correspondent l Ahmedabad
Delivering the verdict in the Naroda Patia massacre case, the special court observed that gang-rapes had taken place during the riot and, in the case of at least one woman, the prosecution had failed miserably to nail the culprits.

The court said that witnesses’ accounts, including that of a victim of gang-rape who had narrated her harrowing experience, indicated that rapes and gang-rapes had taken place in Naroda Patia that day.

“The prosecution has miserably failed to bring on record as to who committed the gang rape on the woman. There is, in fact, no material to believe that she has narrated an imaginary incident,” the court said while ordering the state government to give Rs5 lakh to the woman as compensation. The court further said that when a gang-rape is not proved for want of evidence, it does not naturally follow that gang rape had not taken place.

The special judge refused to accept that just because there was no doctor’s report or injury certificate proving a gang-rape it meant that the gang-rape had not taken place. “Subscribing to this view would amount to turning the face from the hard realities of life,” the court said.

Expressing sympathy for the woman, the court said that when the victim woman was not implicating any of the accused in the incident, it was clear she did not have any other intention in narrating what had happened, except to express her hurt at the violation of her human rights.

“The loud cries of such a victim of crime, if not heard by the system, is a mockery of justice,” the court said.