The survivors: Amid cheer, a disappointment
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Survivors of the Naroda Patiya massacre and representatives of the Citizens for Justice and Peace hailed the 32 convictions. Many called for the death sentence.
But amid all that was also disappointment that the court did not arraign four policemen and paramilitary personnel as accused. Some of the victims-witnesses had applied for the inclusion of Naroda police inspectors K K Mysorewala and V S Gohil, State Reserve Police officer Ketan Parikh, and SRP commando Dantaniya, who they said were part of the conspiracy, in the list of accused.
CJP secretary and trustee Teesta Setalvad called the verdict historic. She said it was a reflection of the confidence generated by the Supreme Court's monitoring and the protection paramilitary forces provided to witnesses.
"I welcome the conviction. The death sentence will strengthen the confidence of the people in judiciary," said witness Dildar Hussain Saiyed, demanding that sentence for Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi. He said he had seen Kodnani distributing swords to the mobsters and instigating them.
He said he had filed the application to arraign the four cops, and was disappointed. Advocate Altaf Zidran said, "We don't know what grounds it was rejected on. We will decide what next after getting a copy of the order."
Mohammedbhai Abdul Sheikh said, "Even the death sentence would not be enough for the nature of the crime they committed." Shakilabanu Sheikh, who lost seven members of her family, too said the punishment should be "stricter than the death sentence".
Advocate Raju Sheikh alleged that Bajrangi had threatened him for cross-examining a witness, Jannat Bibi. "When I came out of the court after cross-examining Jannat Bibi, Bajrangi grabbed me by the arm and threatened that I would face very serious consequences for arguing for the victims." alleged Sheikh.