Convicts’ kin: From stunned silence to tears
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Maya Kodnani's husband, Surendra, appeared lost, deep in thought, till the news came. When the emotion showed, it did in a flood: he wept, shook his head and appeared to have nearly fainted until he was sent home. Relatives including Maya Kodnani's sister tried to console him and turned away reporters who approached them.
Babu Bajrangi's son, Tarun, went into a shell after the verdict. All around the court premises, relatives of those convicted either sobbed, were muted, or kept protesting about innocence.
Any consolation they got was from each other, for no office-bearer of the BJP, the Bajrang Dal or the Vishwa Hindu Parishad were on the premises. There were some members from these groups, but they served only as spectators and were not seen offering any consolation.
An exception was Purshottam Harwani, director of Gujarat Minorities Finance and Development Corporation Ltd, who was on the premises. "I came to console the families of convicts such as Mayaben who is a daughter of our community. We will see what the community can do to share the grief," he said. He had lost to Kodnani in an election he contested on a Congress ticket.
The verdict at 11am saw emotions released in a flood from the courtroom too. Some smashed the windowpanes for a glimpse of their relatives. By noon, as the names of the convicts started coming out, Kamsan A Chhara, mother of Naresh and Haresh, wept, "They can't do this a 70-year-old mother. My younger son can't survive without me. The elder one has two little children."
Nilam M Chaubal's cousin Someshwar was relieved: it was an acquittal. He said the police had framed his cousin.