Editorial: It took them 10 years – Justice in Gujarat

By: Iftikhar Islam

After the continuous pray and efforts, 32 convicted out of 61. “The sitting Naroda MLA Mayaben Kodnani was sentenced to 18 year of imprisonment for criminal conspiracy and murder, while Babu Bajrangi was sentenced for life imprisonment till death.” The Times of India Reported

“Principal judge Jyotsna Yagnik called the former minister ‘the kingpin of the religious riots’ and awarded her a ten-year and 18-year sentence for murder and other charges including inciting religious hatred. Yagnik said 57-year-old Kodnani, who was an ally and former minister from 2007-2009 under Gujarat's long-standing Chief Minister Narendra Modi, was guilty of ‘instigating mobs and provoking unlawful assembly’.” Yahoo News quoted AFP.

It is further reported that “Human rights groups say more than 2,000 people, mainly Muslims, were hacked, beaten or burned to death, while government figures put the death toll at about 1,000.” The Narendra Modi government “failed” to act during the pre-planned riots which raise many questions against the leadership and capabilities of Narendra Modi.

“Bajrangi, in a taped interview, confessed to helping orchestrate the killing in Naroda Patiya where homes were set on fire and some Muslims were set ablaze while hiding in a pit. ‘In Naroda and Naroda Patiya, we didn't spare a single Muslim shop, we set everything on fire, we set them on fire and killed them,’ he said, according to a transcript available online.” Even he confessed making a phone call to the then Home Minister about the massacre he and his followers did. Yet we are said that the government and the leader (i.e. Narendra Modi) are clean. How can a leader be clean when he promotes the person who is involved in massacre and give higher seats in his leadership?

Some people even defended their party saying that “they are just convicted, the decision is yet pending” and after the decision they didn’t even come to speak on that matter.

Even after hearing about all these issues and tapes of Bajrangi, Shahnawaz Hussain, top politician of BJP and former Cabinet Minister, couldn’t stop playing politics and said “After all the ‘justice’ came in the rule of NDA.” He forgot that, in 2008, the Supreme Court ordered the re-investigation of nine of the most sensitive incidents during the riots, including the initial train fire and the violence in Naroda Patiya. Where was your “Justice” in 2008? Why the Supreme Court ordered the re-investigation? The Justice is given by ‘Special Investigation Team’ court and not by NDA.

We should think and rethink about the future of India where our leaders play politics and think of their seats even in times of sensitive issues, oops… I forgot, these cases are instigated by politicians. How long we have to wait to get honest and upright leaders?

With due respect to the decision made by court, I say, this case should have been termed as “rarest of rare” and the convicts should be put to death. For the sake of argument, even if I agree with the government figures, 1000 - mainly Muslims - were hacked, beaten or burned to death. Is it not a “rarest of rare” case? Or you think that it is common to hack, kill and burn to death 1000, mainly Muslims, in India?

“Defence advocate Niranjan Tikani appealed to the court to show leniency towards the convicts, keeping in mind their family background and financial condition. Tikani also opposed the demand of capital punishment for Kodnani and submitted that her husband has been operated upon recently and is not keeping good health, while her son is studying in the US.” Indian Express stated on their website.

If we see the family background of criminals then how can we deliver justice? What about those who are killed in the riots? Do they not have old-age parents at home? Weren’t their children orphaned? Sisters didn’t get married because of poverty and the only bread-earned is burnt to death. Yet the parents are grieved and cry in remembrance of their only children on whose shoulder was the burden of the entire family.

This is not the case with one, two or three families; not even ten, twenty, thirty families. It is about the families of 1000 people who were hacked, killed and burnt to death. How can we be lenient even if it is about the issue of one family? Don’t we have the value for lives in India? Indian lives are so cheap? What compensation will the government give to them? They only demand strict punishment for the culprits – the least government can do.

I am shocked with the argument of the advocate. If the husband is ill how can a court show leniency to a criminal... Yes a criminal. What so great if her son is studying in US? How it is related to the decision of court?

If we give severe punishment to those who spread corruption in the land, then soon we see our India with least amount crimes.

We have hope in our Judicial System and demand to deliver Justice as soon as possible so that innocents living behind the bars get relief soon.

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