The Congress has blamed the prosecution for the acquittals in the post-Godhra riots in Ahmedabad’s Naroda Gam, asking the Gujarat government to appeal against the verdict before a higher court to ensure justice for the victims.
Several Congress leaders commented on the judgment on Twitter, and the party’s communications chief Jairam Ramesh issued a statement saying: “While we will await the detailed judgment to offer a comprehensive statement, it is clear that there has been a categorical lapse on the part of the prosecution in the performance of its role. The only way the prosecution and the prosecuting state can prove this to be false is if they pursue the appeals process with seriousness and expediency.”
Ramesh said: “Justice is a right that must be secured through a constant vigil. The Indian National Congress will continue to follow this case.”
Ramesh added: “We also reaffirm our support for the victims of these heinous crimes and the families that survive them. We hope that while justice may be delayed it will not be denied.”
Party general secretary-in-charge K.C. Venugopal said: “The 2002 Gujarat riots are firmly etched in our collective conscience as the most horrific riots in Indian history. History will always remember the shambolic legal proceedings in this case, which have denied closure and justice to thousands of victims.”
Congress social media head Supriya Shrinate said: “The court has acquitted all the 69 accused, including Babu Bajrangi, Jaydeep Patel and Maya Kodnani, in the Naroda Gam riots case. Should we believe now that no massacre took place? Some 11 people were not burnt alive? Perhaps they staged a drama of getting burnt alive. For your information: Maya Kodnani was a minister in the Modi government (in Gujarat), and Babu Bajrangi confessed to his crime on camera. But they all have been freed.”
Taking to Twitter, former Union minister Kapil Sibal said: “Naroda Gam: 11 of our citizens, including a 12-year-old girl killed. After 21 years, 67 accused acquitted. Should we celebrate the rule of law, or despair its demise!”
A veteran Congress leader from Gujarat, Arjun Modhwadia, said: “Those who confessed to the crime on camera in the mass murder of 2002 have been declared innocent. And the one (Rahul Gandhi) who called a thief a thief is guilty. India had never seen such Amrit Kaal.”
He was referring to the Surat sessions court’s refusal to stay Rahul’s conviction in a defamation case.
The Congress working president in Gujarat, Jignesh Mevani, said: “Insaf ka taraju: Those who faced charges of mass murder, gang rape and rioting were acquitted. But Rahul Gandhi’s conviction not stayed. Hail Gujarat, Bharat Mata ki jai.”