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Naroda Patia verdict: 'Powerful people have been convicted'

Last updated on: August 30, 2012 13:25 IST

There is a mixed reaction to the Naroda Patia verdict which was delivered on Wednesday in the special court in Ahmedabad, says Rigvedita Mahurkar.

The court sentenced 32 persons including former minister and sitting Bharatiya Janata Party Member of Legislative Assembly Maya ben Kodnani and Babu Bhai Bajrangi.

Twenty-nine people were acquitted in the case for the incident, in which 97 of a minority community were killed and 34 injured by a mob on February 28 2002.

While reacting to the judgment, Prakash Tekchandani, a businessman from Ahmedabad told, "It is wrong to punish people in this manner. How can such large number of people be convicted in a mob violence in which it is difficult to pinpoint individual's role? There is something unusual about the case."

"I feel the people's reaction in this case is politically motivated. Of course, such mass killings in communal riots are most condemnable as both sides are hurt. But why is only one side highlighted in such communal riots and why the press plays down the story when Hindus are the victims? There is a bias somewhere. Other issues deserve the headlines more than this," Says Komal Rao, a housewife and an interior designer.

However, the opinions are divided. Harveen Kaur Sandhu, student, had a different take. She says that "Powerful people have been convicted and sentenced. It clearly shows that an honest investigation has been done."

"The law has taken its course, but in the heart of our heart every one knows that it is wrong (legal verdict) because, the act was impulsive, not pre-planned," says Harshwardhan Singh Chauhan, an agriculturist.

"Let's just say it's comforting to see that at least the case is being dealt with finally, instead of dragging it for many more years. It's important that everyone who is responsible is being given a face and put in a position of being answerable." says Farheen Raaj, an English literature student.

While spelling out the most commonly-held view among Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's supporters, Dr Prashant Bhimani, a consulting psychologist says, "We should not pay attention to the incident (Naroda Patiya) only, but we should also understand the issues which took place before and after the incident. It is a part of the cycle. I cannot comment on the verdict. "

Rigvedita Mahurkar in Ahmedabad