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Gujarat riots: Naroda Patiya massacre convict Babu Bajrangi in "bad shape", cops tell SC

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: January 31, 2019  | 18:12 IST

New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) Former Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi, sentenced to 21 years in jail in the Naroda Patiya massacre case in which 97 people were killed by a mob during the 2002 Gujarat riots, is in "bad shape" due to various ailments, the state government informed the Supreme Court Thursday in reply to his bail plea. The state government said that medical reports suggests that Bajrangi has suffered a hundred percent vision loss besides various other ailments. A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi asked the counsel for Gujarat government to file the medical reports on an affidavit as it needs to be taken on record. Senior advocate R Basant, appearing for Bajrangi, said that he is seeking bail in the case on health grounds as he is now 100 per cent deaf and blind and suffers from various heart ailments. "Let them (Gujarat) file an affidavit. We will hear you on merit," the bench said while posting the matter for further hearing next week. Advocate Aparna Bhatt, appearing for Faridaben Abdul Kadar Khalifa who claims to be a victim of the Naroda Patiya massacre, said that they have moved an intervening application seeking to oppose the bail application of Bajrangi. The bench said it will consider the intervening application along with the bail application next week. On October 8 last year, the top court had sought reply from Gujarat Police on the bail plea of Bajrangi. Bajrangi has claimed that he was in "unsound physical condition", having permanent blindness and had undergone bypass surgery recently. While seeking bail, he has also challenged the Gujarat High Court's April 20 verdict in which his conviction in the case was upheld and the life term awarded to him by the trial court was reduced to 21 years' rigorous imprisonment without remission. On January 23, the top court had granted regular bail to four convicts in the Naroda Patiya massacre case-- Umeshbhai Surabhai Bharwad, Rajkumar, Padmendrasinh Jaswantsinh Rajput and Harshad alias Mungda Jila Govind Chhara Parmar. The Gujarat High Court had on April 20 last year upheld the conviction of 12 out of the 29 accused who were pronounced guilty on various charges by the trial court and had acquitted 17 others, including former BJP minister Maya Kodnani. The rioting had taken place on February 28, 2002, in the Naroda Patiaya area of Ahmedabad where a mob had killed 97 people, most of them from a minority community. The massacre had taken place a day after the torching of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra, killing 59 people and triggering state-wide riots. PTI MNL ABA SA

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