Two judges hearing Naroda Patiya massacre recuse from case, say they were contacted by accused


On a day when a retired judge, who had pronounced verdict in Narod Patiya massacre case, complained of threats to her life, two sitting judges have recused themselves from hearing this case.

The two-judge bench consisting of Justice M R Shah and Justice K S Jhaveri said that it had reservations against hearing the case and referred it to the Acting Chief Justice for assigning it to another bench.

These judges told the lawyers that some of the accused persons had tried to approach them.`

Naroda Patiya in Gujarat had witnessed one of the worst massacres in 2002 with more than 100 people being killed by the rioters. 32 people have so far been convicted with the list including several high profile names such as Babu Bajrangi and a former minister in Narendra Modi’s cabinet as Gujarat chief minister, Maya Kodnani.

Last week, the court had extended Bajrangi’s bail by 10 days on health ground. Bajrangi and others had filed an appeal against their conviction, which came for hearing last week when these two judges conveyed their intention to recuse themselves from the case.

Earlier a sessions judge Jyotsna Yagnik complained of receiving threats after she delivered the conviction order in 2012. The then UPA government had provided her Z plus security, which was scaled down by the BJP government in September last year.
Experts say that this is quite a worrisome sign for those fighting for justice in Gujarat riots, which had killed more than 2000 people mostly Muslims. Gujarat’s BJP government has always been accused of judicial interference in cases related to Gujarat riots.
Teesta Setalvad, who’s fought for the justice for the riot victims is currently being investigated by the CBI, which reports the central government headed of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi was the chief minister when Gujarat riots, the worst episode of communal violence in recent times, happened.
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