New Delhi/Ahmedabad, Aug 29 (IBNS): Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh on Wednesday said the conviction of 32 people, including a former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, in the Naroda Patiya massacre case of 2002 Gujarat riots showed the involvement of party leaders in the crime.
A former woman BJP minister, Maya Kodnani, was among the 32 accused convicted by a special court in Ahmedabad in connection with the Naroda Patiya massacre case.
"I respect the judgement of the honourable court. Now it is clear that ministers and officials of the BJP were involved in Gujarat riots and they acted at the behest of the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi who is also the CM now," Singh told reporters.
He said: "Can any minister do this (take part in riots) without the support of the Chief Minister?"
He said the role of Modi in the Gujarat riot should be investigated.
Meanwhile, social activist Teesta Setalvad welcomed the verdict given by the court.
"This is important that Babu Bajrangiand Maya Kodnani have been convicted. This is the first time that some judgement has implicated the political class," Setalvad told media.
"The testimony of the eyewitnesses helped in Kodnani´s conviction and phone calls proved that she was at the locality," Setalvad said.
The court also convicted Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi in the case.
Both Maya and Babu have been convicted under Sections 302 (murder) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), reports said.
The court acquitted 29 people.
At least 95 people belonging to a minority community were killed by a rioting mob that had attacked Naroda Patiya area on Feb 28, 2002.
The Gujarat Police first investigated the case before the Supreme Court in 2009 and appointed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe it.
The SIT had registered cases against Maya and several others in connection with the case.
She was also arrested in connection with the matter.
Three accused died during the trial.
The remaining 61 accused were tried for rioting, murder and arson.
Pertinently, most of the accused are currently out on bail.
The Naroda Patiya case is one of the worst massacre incidents that occurred during the infamous 2002 Gujarat riots.
The infamous Gujarat riots of 2002 left hundreds of Muslims dead, injured and tortured and came as a blot in the BJP rule in the state.
The riots followed an incident of train burning in Godhra in which Hindus returning from Ayodhya were killed by a Muslim mob.
Around 1,000 supporters of prime accused Maulvi Umarjihad attacked the coach at the Godhra station and torched it killing 59 people and injuring many.