The Gujarat High Court on Monday issued a notice to the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) and the Gujarat government on a petition filed by four of the accused of the 2002 Naroda Gam massacre case,seeking to arraign 82 witnesses in the case as accused on rioting charges.
The court,presided over by Justice S G Shah,passed an order in this regard,while posting the matter for further hearing on September 13.
As per the details,all the 81 accused in the massacre case,including former BJP MLA Dr Maya Kodnani,had moved a similar petition before the special trial court in May. It was,however,rejected by judge Jyotsana Yagnik,following which,four of them challenged the order in the High Court.
According to the accused petitioners,there are recorded testimonies of several witnesses in which they admit to have indulged in stone-pelting and rioting. They have also stated that there are many government witnesses,police officers for instance,who have testified to mobs,comprising people belonging to both communities,pelting stones at each other,burning rags and indulging in other acts of rioting.
The accused also contended that based on these testimonies,it was proved that 82 of the witnesses who testified had,in fact,indulged in rioting and so should be prosecuted under the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
The special trial court had then dismissed the petition on the ground that under the provisions of Section 319 of the CrPC,invoked by the petitioners,a witness could not be made an accused in the same case.
In all,11 persons were killed in the Nardoa Gam massacre. It is one of the nine 2002 riot cases that were further investigated by the SIT.