Voice for the victims
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NARODA PATIYA, AHMEDABAD
Ninety-seven Muslims were killed and many injured when a mob attacked Naroda Patiya on February 28, 2002 in the worst riots case in the aftermath of the Godhra train fire. While the case was initially investigated by the Ahmedabad Crime Branch, the Supreme Court later handed it over to the SIT.
Verdict: August 29, 2012
people, including BJP MLA Maya Kodnani and Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi who have been sentenced to life imprisonment
On August 29, minutes after the judgment in the Naroda Patiya case, Govind Parmar stood outside the special court, doing his best to avoid the battery of media crew and their cameras. It didn't matter that he had just won one of the most high-profile cases in recent times—Naroda Patiya, where 97 people were killed on February 28, 2002.
"I can't sit down and do nothing when there are human rights violations against Dalits, Muslims or people from any of the weaker sections. I believe that Naroda Patiya was a genocide where people were killed and raped," says Parmar, a 36-year-old Dalit from a village in Surendranagar district of Gujarat.
Parmar, who is associated with Behavioural Science Centre, a voluntary group in Ahmedabad, started visiting relief camps in the city a couple of months after the riots. "Initially, when I used to visit the camps, people were hostile. They would say Hindus had killed their kin and I was, after all, a Hindu. It took me a lot of effort to win their confidence," says Parmar.
After studying the Naroda case papers, Parmar and his team found many lapses in the police investigation. The National Human Rights Commission and others pointed out these lapses in a petition to the Supreme Court, which then set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the case further.