ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Delivering Justice

Justice has been done in the Naroda Patiya case, but what if the Supreme Court had not intervened?

Ten years after 97 people were brutally killed in an ­organised attack by Hindutva groups on the Muslim majority neighbourhood of Naroda Patiya in northern Ahmedabad, the victims and survivors have finally got a measure of justice. A special court has found 32 of the accused guilty of barbaric murders that still sicken people everywhere on their retelling. Maya Kodnani, former minister in the cabinet of ­Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, has been imprisoned for 28 years and Babu Bajrangi, senior Bajrang Dal activist, has been handed a life sentence. Since Independence, this is the largest number of people to be convicted in a case of communal violence and the first time that criminal responsibility has been fixed on politicians.

The judgment delivered by justice Jyotsna Yagnik marks an important moment in the fight for justice after the Gujarat communal carnage of 2002. It is the first time that high profile individuals like Kodnani and Bajrangi have been punished for their role in the murders. The ­verdict is also significant in that though the prosecution sought the death sentence, the judge concluded that capital punishment undermined “human dignity” and so handed down life sentences.

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