Sena: Modi move to seek Kodnani death an attack on Hindus
The Shiv Sena Saturday took on the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat, saying its decision to seek death penalty for Mayaben Kodnani was an attack on Hindus.
Modi's government had earlier this week said it was going to seek death penalty for the former BJP minister and nine others in the 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre case.
"There is a feeling that Modi is a protector of Hindus. Seeking death for Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi is a deadly attack on Hindus, who have different expectations from Modi," an editorial in Sena mouthpiece Saamana said.
The Sena and Modi share an uneasy relationship. Uddhav Thackeray is not happy with the reference to Modi as a Hindu Hriday Samrat (Rulers of Hindu's hearts) which the Sena claims was originally coined for Bal Thackeray.
"It has become a crime to be a Hindu in this country. We are sad that those launching deadly attacks on Hindus are Hindus," the editorial said.
In August last year, a trial court had sentenced Kodnani, once a close Modi aide, to 28 years in jail, while Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi was ordered to spend the rest of his life in prison. Eight others were awarded 31-year imprisonment, while 22 convicts got 24 years prison term.
At least 97 people were killed in Naroda Patiya in Ahmedabad by a mob on February 28, 2002.
The Gujarat government had earlier this week decided to file an appeal in the High Court, seeking death penalty for Kodnani and others, seven months after the sentence was pronounced, much beyond the stipulated period of three months.
"There can be no two opinions that criminals should be punished. However, when the court has already given a harsh sentence to Kodnani and Bajrangi, what does the Gujarat government want to show to the world by seeking the death penalty," the editorial said. "Godhra riots were a reaction to the burning of the Sabarmati Express."