New Delhi | Rajya Sabha MP and senior advocate Kapil Sibal on Friday criticised the Ahmedabad court's decision to acquit all the 67 accused in the Naroda Gam case and asked whether "we should celebrate the rule of law or despair its demise".
More than two decades after 11 Muslim community members were killed in the post-Godhra riots in Ahmedabad's Naroda Gam, a special court in Ahmedabad on Thursday acquitted all the 67 accused in the case, including former Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani and ex-Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi.
Reacting to the development, Sibal said on Twitter, "Naroda Gam: 11 of our citizens including a 12-year-old girl killed. After 21 years, 67 accused acquitted. Should we: Celebrate the rule of law or Despair its demise!" Later, he told reporters, "Somebody was killed. It is the job of the investigating agency to find out who did it. The investigating agency found out. Is it not a failure of the prosecuting agency that they could not bring them to justice." "Are the prosecuting agencies seeking acquittal or punishment. I am certain that the prosecuting agency will not file an appeal," he said, adding, "I wonder if the courts are mere mute spectators to the unfolding saga of injustice that is unravelling itself in trial after trial." The Ahmedabad-based court of S K Baxi, special judge for Special Investigation Team (SIT) cases, acquitted all the accused in one of the worst massacres witnessed during the state-wide riots triggered by the Sabarmati train carnage on February 27, 2002. The Naroda Gam case was probed by a Supreme Court-appointed SIT.
There were a total of 86 accused in the case, of which 18 died during the pendency of the trial, while one was discharged by the court earlier under section 169 of the CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure) due to insufficient evidence against him.