A special SIT judge, hearing the 2002 Naroda Gam riots case, today visited the site of the incident where 11 people were killed to understand the topography of the area and verify claims of witnesses.
P B Desai took nearly 40 minutes to inspect the locality where people belonging to the minority community were killed on the basis of the panchnama or inquest of the police and Special Investigation Team (SIT).
Accompanying him were lawyers for the accused, the SIT, and the victims, as well as police officer Himanshu Shukla, who was the investigating officer in the case.
The judge began his visit from the cross roads, where former BJP minister Maya Kodnani, who is a prime accused facing trial, had allegedly instigated the mob along with another accused and VHP leader Jaideep Patel.
He inspected panchayat office where the mob had gathered before attacking the houses belonging to the victims of the minority community, a hotel, and houses near Hussaini Chowk which were targetted by the mob.
He also inspected Joshiwadi and Panchal ki Khirki where stones were pelted by the mob.
The judge inspected the house of a victim named Nawabbhai where stones were thrown on the night of February 27 as well as the houses of Bismilla Khan and Ashraf Khan where people had taken shelter to escape the mob before going to the police station.
Among other places that he visited were the house of one Madina where five persons were killed, the house of victim Sattarbhai where four members were burnt alive, a spot near the branch of Bank of India where two persons were burnt alive, an area behind the municipal corporation office where drums filled with oil were stored a day before — which the prosecution had claimed proved pre-planned conspiracy.
The judge also visited a medical store belonging to accused Jaideep Patel.
The court had recently concluded hearing witnesses submissions and the case is now at the stage of argument.
Naroda Gam massacre is one of the nine major 2002 communal riots cases which were investigated by the Special Investigation Team.
Eleven people belonging to the minority community were killed in Naroda Gam in 2002 riots during a bandh call made to protest the Godhra train burning incident of February 27, 2002.
Kodnani, who was then a state minister in the Narendra Modi government, has already been convicted and sentenced to 28 years in jail in the Naroda Patiya case in which 97 people were killed.
( Source – PTI )