A special court hearing the 2002 Naroda Gam massacre case on Tuesday has ordered BJP president Amit Shah to appear in person as a defence witness in the genocide cases against Maya Kodnani, who was a minister in Narendra Modi government in Gujarat in 2002 when thousands of Muslims were massacred.
Last week, Kodnani moved a fresh plea in the court seeking more time to serve summons to BJP president Amit Shah, who she wanted to prove her alibi. Kodnani had said till date she hadn’t been able to contact Shah, who is the national president of the ruling BJP. The special SIT court in Ahmedabad had granted her four more days till Tuesday to find the address of Shah.
On Tuesday, the court, on a request of Kodnani, has issued summons to Shah to appear before the court on 18 September. The court, however, said it will not re-issue the summons in case Shah fails to present himself on a given date.
Kodnani, the former Minister for Women and Child Welfare, was convicted and sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment for the mass murder of 97 Muslims in Naroda Patiya, an area adjoining Naroda Gam where 11 people were killed on the same day - 28 February 2002.
By summoning Shah and 13 others, Kodnani is trying to prove that at the time of riots in Naroda Gam, she was present at spots like Gujarat assembly, civil hospital, her home and other places, but not Naroda Gam.
She claimed in the application that Shah, who was an MLA at that time, was also present at the Sola civil hospital. Kodnani said that Shah's testimony will help prove her alibi.
Kodnani's advocate Amit Patel submitted before the court the residential address of Shah in Thaltej area of Ahmedabad city, after which the court issued the summons to him on the same address.
The judge has ordered that Shah must appear either in person or assign a lawyer to respond as defence witness of Kodnani.
The Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gam episode were part of the 2002 Gujarat riot that broke out a day after the Sabarmati Express was torched at the Godhra railway station. According to an unofficial estimate more than 4,000 people, mostly Muslims, had killed in the genocide.
The SIT chief, who had given clean to Modi for his role in the genocide, was recently rewarded by being made the envoy of Cyprus.