Four accused in the Naroda Patiya case, which is termed as one of the worst massacres in 2002 Gujarat riots, have been granted bail by the top court, ‘conviction debatable’.
The four accused, Rajkumar, Umeshbhai Bharwad, Prakashbhai Rathod, and Harshad are serving 10-years imprisonment for arson and rioting. The Gujarat High Court has found them guilty.
On Tuesday, while granting bail to four convicts, the Supreme Court said that “the conviction order is debatable”. It continued that it is seized of appeals by other accused in the case, the list includes Babu Bajrangi.
On February 28, 2002, more than 97 Muslims were shot dead by a mob in Naroda Patiya, located near Ahmedabad, turned communal riots and followed by Godhra train burning in which at least 59 Hindu train passengers were burned alive.
In June 2018, Gujarat High Court had sentenced the accused to 10-years rigorous jail term, observing that their punishment are not subjected to changes, considering the brutality of the criminal offence.
The Gujarat High Court had accused 16 people, including Babu Bajrangi and 18 others, among them ex-BJP Minister Maya Kodnani.
On June 25, the High Court had said that “the court cannot set aside the agony and anguish of the victims… Offences are not against individuals but society at large and have consequences of polarising society.”
The court held reads, “Imposing too lenient a sentence would amount to a travesty of justice… Imposition of 10 years of rigorous imprisonment would be adequate punishment.”
The Gujarat High Court further observed that any liberal attitude concerned to such offences would be “counter-productive” and against society interests.