|Criminal charge||Guilty of masterminding the Naroda Patiya massacre which killed 97 Muslims|
Babubhai Patel, known by his alias Babu Bajrangi, was a leader of the Gujarat-wing of the Bajrang Dal, a Hindu right wing organization in India. He was a central figure during the 2002 Gujarat violence. He was sentenced to life term imprisonment by a special court for his role in masterminding the Naroda Patiya massacre in which 97 Muslims were murdered including 36 women, 26 men and 35 children. The Supreme Court of India granted him bail on medical grounds in March 2019.
Role in 2002 riots
In 2007, the Indian journal Tehelka published a hidden-camera interview with Bajrangi, in which Bajrangi speaks candidly of his role in the violence against Indian Muslims in the Naroda Patiya massacre, a particularly intense episode of brutality during the 2002 Gujarat riots:
We didn't spare a single Muslim shop, we set everything on fire … we hacked, burned, set on fire … we believe in setting them on fire because these bastards don't want to be cremated, they're afraid of it … I have just one last wish … let me be sentenced to death … I don't care if I'm hanged ... just give me two days before my hanging and I will go and have a field day in Juhapura where seven or eight lakhs [seven or eight hundred thousand] of these people stay ... I will finish them off … let a few more of them die ... at least 25,000 to 50,000 should die.
In the video, Bajrangi claimed that after the killings, he called the home minister Gordhan Zadaphia and the VHP General Secretary Jaideep Patel, and told them about the killings. After a few hours, an FIR was lodged against him, and the police commissioner issued orders to shoot him at sight. He was later arrested, and released on bail. He was out on bail at the time of the Tehelka interview. He also claimed Narendra Modi changed judges three times to ensure that he was released from jail, as the first two judges wanted to sentence Bajrangi to hanging for his heinous crimes.
In 2012, he was convicted in the Naroda Patiya massacre case along with Maya Kodnani and thirty other accused. All thirty-two of the accused were found guilty of "murder, attempt to murder, conspiracy, spreading enmity and communal hatred and unlawful assembly".
On 31 August 2012, Bajrangi was sentenced to life imprisonment. However, he continues to be out of jail on bail. As of 2016, Bajrangi had been granted temporary bail 14 times on the pretext of his wife's and his own poor health. After claiming to have developed partial blindness and deafness, Bajrangi was given an attendant (bodyguard) in Sabarmati Central Jail. On 7 March 2019, the Supreme Court of India also granted bail to Babu Bajrangi, after the Gujarat government informed the Supreme Court, in reply to a bail plea that Bajrangi had filed last year, that he was “in bad shape”. The state told the court that Bajrangi has allegedly suffered complete vision loss, besides various other ailments.
Babu Bajrangi also runs a trust called Navchetan trust, which as per his claims saves the girls who run out of their home and marry outside their community. In a report of the Frontline magazine it was claimed that his organisation use intimidation and violence to forcibly end the marriages done outside the community. As per this reports and his claims he had "saved" more than 700 girls from such inter caste marriages.
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- "Riot witness names MLA, says she led Naroda mob". The Times of India. 30 September 2003. Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
- "Naroda Patiya massacre: Ex-minister Kodnani, 31 convicted". Worldsnap. 29 August 2012.
- "Babu Bajrangi, convicted in 2002 Naroda Patiya riots, granted bail by Supreme Court". India Today. 7 March 2020. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
- "Supreme Court Grants Bail to 2002 Riots Convict Babu Bajrangi". The Wire. 7 March 2019. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
- "After Killing Them, I Felt Like Maharana Pratap". Tehelka. 1 September 2007. Archived from the original on 7 December 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
- "Tehelka:: Free. Fair. Fearless". Archive.tehelka.com. 10 August 2007. Archived from the original on 15 September 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
- "Ex-BJP Minister among 32 convicted of Naroda-Patiya massacre". The Hindu. 29 August 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
- "Naroda Patiya riots: BJP MLA Maya Kodnani sentenced to 28 yrs in jail, Babu Bajrangi life". Indian Express. 31 August 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
- "Naroda patiya case: Babu Bajrangi gets 7 day-bail, 14th time since conviction". Indian Express. 28 October 2016. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
- PTI (17 January 2017). "Babu Bajrangi withdraws bail application from Gujarat HC". DNA India. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
- Hussain, Shaik Zakeer (7 March 2019). "Babu Bajrangi, The Terrorist Who Was Convicted For Killing Muslims In Gujarat In 2002, Granted Bail By Supreme Court". The Cognate. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
- Bunsha, Dionne (29 December 2006). "A serial kidnapper and his 'mission'". Frontline. Retrieved 8 February 2021.