BJP President, Amit Shah testified to the SIT court in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, as defence witness, on Monday, September 18th 2017, saying that he had seen Maya Kodnani, a leader of his party, in the state assembly at 8.30 am and then again at Ahmedabad’s Sola Civil Hospital between 10 am-11.30 am, on the morning of February 28, 2002. It was the same day that witnessed communal riots in Gujarat, and Maya Kodnani was one of the big shots who was arrested and convicted.
Numerous witnesses to the Naroda Gam massacre which caused the killing of 11 Muslims on February 28th, 2002 in Gujarat have alleged in court many times that they saw Maya Kodnani leading the frenzied mob in Naroda Gam between 9.30 and 10 am on that day and inciting the killings.
“We saw her between 9.30 am and 10 am at the Naroda Gam and Amit Shah says he had seen her at two places…where did she go in between he doesn’t know,” Imtiyaz Qureshi, victim of Naroda Gam violence said.
The BJP president was in court for about an hour and answered over 40 questions from lawyers. Asked whether he knew where Maya Kodnani was between the time that he saw her at the assembly and in the hospital, Mr Shah said he did not know. He also said he did not know where she went from the hospital.
Riots broke out in Gujarat after coaches of the Sabarmati Express was set on fire at Godhra on February 27, 2002, killing 59 kar sevaks , following which the state saw unprecedented violence in post Independent India, that left about 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, dead.
Amit Shah had so far repeatedly failed to testify to help prove her alibi. Citing his extremely busy schedule as party president, Dr. Mayaben Kodnani had almost given up on the prospect of his coming to face the Special Investifation Team(SIT) court to testify in her favour. His doing just that on Monday( the deadline set for Kodnani ) will go a long way in changing the dynamic for the former BJP supporters facing trial for the crimes of 2002 Gujarat carnage. With elections due in Gujarat in 3 months this will have many ripple effects.
Who is Maya Kodnani?
Maya Kodnani was Gujarat’s Minister for Women and Child Development in 2007 and served in that post till her arrest in 2009. She was found guilty of the massacre of nearly 100 Muslims in a neighbourhood called Naroda Patiya, next doors to Naroda Gam, on the same day in 2002. She was sentenced to 28 years in jail, but was granted bail in 2014 after pleading that she is very unwell.