SC Grants Bail To Naroda Patiya Case Convict Babubhai Bajrangi On Health Grounds
The Supreme Court granted bail to Babubhai Patel alias Babu Bajrangi, a Bajrang Dal leader. Patel is serving the jail term after being convicted in the Naroda Patiya riots case. He was granted bail on health grounds.
A day after the burning of S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express carrying mostly karsevaks from Ayodhya which killed 57, in retaliation an angry mob killed at least 97 Muslims at Naroda Patiya. The mob was instigated by the Bajrang Dal. About 30 people were convicted for their role in the killings.
Bail granted on health grounds
Patel was awarded life imprisonment until death by the court. He has now been granted bails on health grounds. Notably, the Gujarat government had recently informed the Supreme Court, in reply to the bail plea filed by Patel last year that he was in a bad shape. Reportedly, senior advocate R Basant, appearing for Patel on January 31 said that his bail was being sought because he is 100% deaf and blind, apart from suffering from heart ailments.
The apex court in January granted bail to four convicts in the Naroda Patiya massacre. The bail was granted by the SC bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar to Umeshbhai Surabhai Bharwad, Rajkumar, Padmendrasinh Jaswantsinh Rajput and Mungda Jila Govind Chhara Parmar, as reported by The Week.
In April 2018, the Gujarat High Court had upheld the conviction of 12 of the accused and acquitted 17. Among the 17 acquitted was also Maya Kodnani, a former minister and a BJP leader, who was sentenced to 28-years in prison.
What is Naroda Patiya Case?
On February 27, 2002, a coach of Sabarmati Express was set on fire. This resulted in the death of 59 Kar Sevaks and 49 others were injured. At least 2,000 Kar Sevaks, who were returning from Purnahuti Maha Yagna at the insistence of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), were on the train. The Yagna was part of the Ram Temple Building ceremony.
After this incident, VHP called for a statewide bandh the next day. The VHP leaders also spread rumours about Muslims kidnapping 3 Hindu girls during the attack. Retaliatory attacks began and thus began the Gujarat riots of 2002 wherein total 790 Muslims and 234 Hindus were killed.
In Naroda, on February 28, 2002, a mob of 5000 members, looted, stabbed, sexually assaulted, gang-raped and burnt Muslims individually and in groups over 10 hours. Public and private property was damaged. Mosque was vandalised. Many were left injured, molested and orphaned. 97 Muslims were killed.
Allegations were levelled against state authorities, police and the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Several eyewitnesses said that police helped the perpetrators of violence by attacking Muslims and damaging properties.
Babulal Bajrangi in a ‘sting operation’ was caught bragging about the crimes he committed.