The residents of Naroda Patiya, a small hamlet housing a few thousand poor Muslim families in Eastern Ahmedabad would not have in their wildest imagination predict that they would be systematically butchered on 28th February, 2002
On the previous day, the coach No. S6 of Sabarmati had been gutted leaving 58 passengers dead. The incident was indeed a grave tragedy. Instead of mourning the death, the Sangh Parivar conspired to use the tragedy to instigate the Hindu community to â€œavengeâ€ the death of the 58 Hindu Karsevals. The Chief Minster Modi, himself went to the press on 27th February and declared that the burning of the S6 was a preplanned conspiracy of the Muslim terrorist; the stage was set for the retaliation!
54 of the 58 dead bodies were handed over to the General Secretary of VHP Shri Jaideep Patel who brought the unidentified dead bodies to Ahmedabad in the early morning of 28th February. Few of the bodies were identified right in the morning and around ten of them were taken to Jantanagar Narol, an area close to Naroda Patiya. A massive funeral procession was organized and the anger of the crowd was let loose on the hapless Muslims.
The deposition of Abdulmajid Mohammad Usman Shaikh witness no 156, before the Special Designated Court of Jyostna Yagnik, tells the sordid story of the brutality and perversity of the Sangh Parivar cadre that followed:
Around 8.30 or so, Abdul Majid had notice a large mob gathering near the Nurani Masjid which was opposite to the Naroda Patiya settlement. In his own word as recorded by he Special Judge he stated that,
Another mob was coming from Krishna Nagar at about 9.00 a.m.. These two mobs were mixed up and have attacked Nurani, torched Nurani, outside Nurani a cart of one Rajesh Kerosenewala was lying which had kerosene, even another vehicle of one Vadgeri Badshah was also with kerosene, both these carts had full kerosene which both were used to torch Nurani by using the kerosene, even a gas cylinder was also burst there to torch Nurani.
At this time, two police vehicles came near S.T. Workshop, from where three big black coloured boxes were taken out, one white car
came and people started taking name of ‘Mayaben Kodnani’. She got down from the car. Mayaben (A-37) told that ‘kill them’, then the mob had attacked on us,because of this attack we all stepped back towards our Muslim chawls.
As the residents of Naroda Patiya realized that they were under a massive attack, some of the youngsters put up a defense near the only entry to the Patiya from the main road to prevent the mob from entering their settlement. That was when the local police started firing at the Muslims boys to open up the entry. In the words of Abdul Majid,
The mob attacked on us and police started firing and bursting teargas, the firing hurt Hasan Qureshi on his head, Abid on his private part who fell down there, hence we all ran towards back side of our Muslim chawls and started stepping back and backâ€¦
Abdul rushed back to his home to save his family which consisted of eight children and his wife. This is what he said,
At this time, my sister-in-law Raziyabanu (PW 151) came rushing in burnt position who had her son Shoaib aged about 20 days with her who was also burnt, on my inquiry, Raziya informed me that my mother, wife and children were also burnt near Gangotri Society in a khancha (corner). I immediately went there, I saw my wife was burning, my daughter Supriya was being pulled by Jay Bhavani, son of Jay Bhavani, Suresh Langado, Tiniyo and others. Seeing this, I remembered Allah and gave a loud call to Allah and spoke our religious slogan, at that time, I was attacked from my back side on my head, hence I fell down. There was bleeding from my head, I had injury, I remained unconscious for about half an hour.
At about 07.00 p.m. I could regain my consciousness. I saw Supriya was being pulled and my wife Lalbi, daughters Afrinbanu, Sahinbanu, Sufiyabanu and sons Mohammad Hussain and Khwaja Hussain were burning there. Being bothered for remaining children, I loudly spoke their
Abdul Majid remain unconscious till late evening and the mob left him assuming that he had died. But Abdul lived to the tell the story:
At about 09.00 p.m. police came, called us down from the terrace, and brought us to Shah-E-Alam (Camp). I got treated at the Camp for my head injury and my son Yasin was initially treated there whose dressing was done as was too much burntâ€¦
As I had learnt that my daughter Supriya was admitted in Civil Hospital, on 03/03/2002â€¦
I went to Civil Hospital, I could find out my daughter Supriya there who told me her sordid tale and informed me that “Father, I could not preserve and protect my chastity.” I informed her that “I have seen you being pulled, but then after I was also attacked, hence I could not see further as to what had then happened to you. Supriya told me that she was raped by four-five personsâ€¦ Next day, when I went to Civil Hospital I learnt that at 01.00 a.m. midnight, my daughter, Supriya died.
Except for two children, Abdul Majid lost all other children and his wife and lives with their memory. Like wise, 96 Muslims were tortured and burnt alive on that day.
Going through the vivid narration of over two hundred witnesses, the Special Designated Court had no hesitation in describing the incident of 28th February as one of the darkest hours of Gujarat. In paragraph 25 of her historical judgment in the Naroda Patiya case, this is how she sentenced the main accused:
[Accused No.4, 5, 20, 21, 27, 28, 30, 33, 34, 38, 39, 40, 42, 45, 46, 47, 52, 53, 55, 58, 60 and 62 (in all 22 accused) are convicted of the offence u/s.302 r/w. Sec.149 of the Indian Penal Code wherein, each of them is sentenced to the life imprisonment â€¦
The Special designated Judge made the following observations to justify the punishment:
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The gruesome and barbaric act of the accused and more particularly those seven accused who have been mentioned herein above, have crossed all limits of inhumanity. Their dastardly acts by killing as many as 96 victims by burning them alive at the site of the Muslim chawls itself is horrifying and terrifying commission of offences by these accusedâ€¦
A-18 (Babu Bajrangi) is one of the principal conspirators, active overtÂ actor of the communal riot on that day, leader and instigator for
the co-accused as far as Naroda massacre is concerned.Over and above this, he was also an active member of the unlawful assembly in atleast two of the occurrences including the ghastly evening occurrence. A-37 (Mayaben Kodnani) has been proved to be the kingpin of the entire communal riot and one of the principal conspirators who has actively instigated the rioters and has abetted them to form unlawful assembly to execute the conspiracy hatched under her leadership with other co-conspiratorsâ€¦