AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat government's clearance on Monday of the file put forth by the special investigations team that recommended death penalty for former minister Maya Kodnani, instead of a life term, in the Naroda Patia massacre of 2002 has brought about turmoil in the entire Sangh Parivar in Gujarat. The file had been submitted to the legal department in September 2012 and the timing is most discussed.
In an interview to BBC on January 28 this year,BJP
president Rajnath Singh
had said that Maya Kodnani is innocent and the party will fully support her in the legal battle. But the move
on Monday against Kodnani is now being seen with suspicion by even Parivar insiders because Kodnani's loyalties lie with L K Advani
Kodnani's parents, who have a strong Parivar background, had met RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat in Ahmedabad last fortnight and requested him to use his good offices to help Kodnani. Many local RSS stalwarts had supported the impassioned plea from the family.
The timing of the clearance of the file is important as it comes seven months after the SIT submitted the report and deflects attention from Zakia Jafri protest petition against chief minister Narendra Modi
with thousands of pages of wireless messages and call data record as evidence that Modi government knew about the violence in advance. Also, it comes on the heels of a section of the BJP and NDA favouring Advani as PM.
The change in government's stance is stark. In 2009, when Kodnani was granted bail and SIT wanted bail cancellation, the Modi government replied to SIT that Maya is innocent and denied permission. Even during trial, Kodnani was not arrested.
Kodnani was sentenced to 28 years in jail August 2012 with 30 others for their role in the Naroda Patiya massacre
. Kodnani, a three-time Naroda MLA, was identified in the court by 11 survivors
as a mob leader.
Kodnani, a gynaecologist inducted as minister of state for women
and child development by Modi in 2007, is the first former minister to be found guilty in any case relating to the riots.