Ahmedabad, April 20
A special court here in Gujarat is likely to pronounce its judgment on Thursday in the 2002 Naroda Gam massacre of 11 members of the Muslim community during communal riots in which former BJP MLA Maya Kodnani and ex-Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi are among the accused.
There were a total of 86 accused in the case, but 18 of them died in the intervening period.
The accused are facing charges under Indian Penal Code sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapons), 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy), and 153 (provocation for riots), among others. The maximum punishment for these crimes is death.
The court of SK Baxi, special judge for Special Investigation Agency (SIT) cases, is scheduled to pronounce the verdict against 68 accused on Thursday.
Eleven persons were killed in communal violence in Naroda Gam area of Ahmedabad city on February 28, 2002, during a bandh called to protest the Godhra train burning a day before in which 58 passengers, mostly Karsevaks returning from Ayodhya, were killed.
The prosecution and defence examined 187 and 57 witnesses, respectively, during the trial that started in 2010 and went on for nearly 13 years with six judges successively presiding over the case, said special prosecutor Suresh Shah.