VHP fumes as Gujarat seeks death for 10 Hindu rioters

AHMEDABAD - Hours after the Gujarat government gave a go-ahead for seeking death penalty for a former woman minister and nine other Hindus who have been sentenced to life imprisonment in a sensational 2002 communal riot case, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) is up in arms.

By Mahesh Trivedi

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Published: Sat 20 Apr 2013, 9:56 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 12:58 PM

VHP leaders have shot off an open letter to Chief Minister Narendra Modi urging him to withdraw his legal department’s decision to accept the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team’s (SIT) request to file an appeal for capital punishment for his one-time ministerial aide Maya Kodnani (53) who has been awarded a 28-year term in the Naroda Patia massacre case.

VHP general secretary Ranchhod Bharwad told journalists that his organisation would oppose the Gujarat government’s move to demand death penalty for Kodnani, Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi and eight others.

He said the VHP had also asked Modi to do justice in other riot cases of 2002 like Ode, Sardarpura, Dipda Darwaja, etc in which also Hindu accused had been held guilty. “The Modi regime’s acceptance of the SIT’s appeal is a big blow for the Hindu community of Gujarat. The government should respect Hindus’ feelings and do justice in this case,” said Bharwad. The VHP last month raised eyebrows when it announced here that it would declare Gujarat as a Hindu state by 2015.

On Wednesday, the state legal department had granted SIT’s request to challenge the trial court’s August 2012 order in the Naroda Patia case, before the Gujarat high court. The court had awarded life imprisonment to 10 of the 32 convicts for their criminal conspiracy and active involvement throughout the fateful day, in the killing of 97 Muslims in the industrial locality here on February 28, 2002.

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