Maya Kodnani

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Maya Kodnani
Member of Legislative Assembly, Gujarat
In office
1998–2012
Preceded byGopaldas Bhojwani
Succeeded byNirmala Wadhwani
ConstituencyNaroda
Personal details
Born1956 (age 62–63)
NationalityIndian
Political partyBharatiya Janata Party

Maya Surendrakumar Kodnani is a former Minister of State for Women and Child Development in the Government of Gujarat. Kodnani joined the 12th legislative assembly of Gujarat after being elected to represent the constituency of Naroda as a candidate for the Bharatiya Janata Party.

In 2012, Kodnani was sentenced to twenty-eight years' imprisonment for her participation in the Naroda Patiya massacre during the 2002 Gujarat riots but acquitted in 2018 by the Gujarat High Court. Kodnani was one of the most high-profile individuals to be convicted in the case, as well being the only woman among the accused.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Kodnani is the daughter of a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker who moved to India during the Indian Partition. She had her early education in a Gujarati-medium school. She also joined Rashtra Sevika Samiti, the parallel organisation of RSS for women.[3]

Kodnani joined the Baroda Medical College from where she did her MBBS and Diploma in Gynaecology and Obstetrics. She set up Shivam Maternity Hospital at Kubernagar in Naroda, Ahmedabad.[4]

Political career[edit]

Kodnani began her political career with Ahmedabad civic elections in 1995. She was elected three times from the Naroda constituency as a Member of the Legislative Assembly for the BJP.[5] In 1998, she won the election with a margin of 75,000 votes. In December 2002, shortly after 2002 Gujarat riots, she won by a margin of 110,000 votes. In 2007, her margin increased 180,000 votes.[6] After winning the elections in 2007, she was named as Minister for Women and Child Development of Gujarat in Narendra Modi's BJP government,[5] but resigned from the post in 2009 impending her arrest as accused for the Naroda Patiya massacre.[7]

Role in the 2002 Gujarat riots[edit]

Kodnani was convicted of orchestrating the Naroda Gam and Naroda Patiya massacres of the 2002 Gujarat riots on 28 February 2002, in which 97 Muslims, including 36 women and 35 children, were murdered by stabbing, dismemberment and being burned alive individually as well as in groups.[5][7] Witnesses testified that Kodnani was at the scene of the crimes, handed out swords to Hindu rioters, exhorted them to attack Muslims and at one point fired a pistol.[8] Bajrang Dal members Suresh Richard and Prakash Rathod told Tehelka's journalists on spy camera that Kodnani drove around Naroda all day, urging the mob to hunt Muslims down and kill them.[9] Mobile phone records also placed her at the scene and showed her to be in regular communication with the top police officials, the Home Minister Gordhan Zadaphia and the Chief Minister's office.[10] The mobile phone records were buried by the police and brought to light by the Nanavati-Mehta Commission in 2004. They were later investigated by R. K. Raghavan-led Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the Supreme Court of India in 2008.

Kodnani ignored notices for deposition by the SIT, which declared her an absconder in February 2009. She obtained an anticipatory bail from a sessions court, which was revoked by the Gujarat High Court on 27 March 2009, leading to her subsequent arrest.[6]

She was tried in the Naroda Patiya massacre case and, on 31 August 2012, convicted of murder and conspiracy to commit murder and sentenced to 28 years in prison.[8][11] The court judgement called her the "kingpin of the Naroda Patiya massacre." Kodnani continued to maintain her innocence, claiming that she was at the Sola Civil Hospital at the time of the riots, meeting the relatives of Godhra victims.[12]

On 17 April 2013, the Gujarat government filed an appeal in the High Court seeking the death penalty for Kodnani[13] but withdrew it on 14 May.[14] In November 2013, she was granted an interim bail of three months for treatment of intestinal tuberculosis.[15] On 30 July 2014 Gujarat High Court has granted bail to her on grounds of ill health and suspended her prison sentence.[16] On 20 April 2018, the High Court overturned the trial court's findings and acquitted Maya Kodnani.[17][18]

Personal life[edit]

Maya Kodnani is married to Surendra Kodnani, who is a general physician.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Naroda Patiya riots: Former minister Maya Kodnani gets 28 years in jail". NDTV.com. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  2. ^ "Gujarat riots: BJP's Maya Kodnani jailed for 28 years". BBC.
  3. ^ "Naroda Patiya: How Maya Kodnani fell from BJP poster girl to convict". Firstpost. 30 August 2012. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  4. ^ Express News Service. "The rise and fall of Maya Kodnani". Express India. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  5. ^ a b c "For Maya Kodnani, riots memories turn her smile into gloom". DNA India. 21 February 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  6. ^ a b Mitta, Manoj (2014). The Fiction of Fact-Finding: Modi & Godhra. HarperCollins Publishers India. pp. 78–97. ISBN 978-93-5029-187-0.
  7. ^ a b "Maya gets bail". India Today. 19 May 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  8. ^ a b "Indian nationalist MP gets 28 years for 2002 massacre". Reuters. 31 August 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  9. ^ Ashish Khetan (29 August 2012). "Ahmedabad: Carnage Capital". Tehelka. Archived from the original on 21 May 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  10. ^ "Naroda verdict may spell trouble for top cops, ex-minister". Hindustan Times. 1 September 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  11. ^ Manas Dasgupta (31 August 2012). "News / National : 28 years for Kodnani, Bajrangi to spend entire life in prison". Chennai, India: The Hindu. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  12. ^ "Naroda Patiya case: Mayaben Kodnani's fate hangs in balance". India Today. 25 May 2013. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  13. ^ "Gujarat government to seek death penalty for Kodnani, Bajrangi". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 17 April 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  14. ^ "Narendra Modi's U-turn on Maya Kodnani; seeks advocate general's opinion on death penalty - The Times of India". The Times Of India.
  15. ^ "Supreme Court refuses to grant Maya Kodnani extension of Bail". IANS. news.biharprabha.com. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  16. ^ Gujarat high court grants bail to Kodnani 30 July 2014
  17. ^ "Naroda Patiya case: Trial court presumed Maya Kodnani's guilt, sought reasons to support its belief, says HC". The Indian Express. 22 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Maya Kodnani Acquitted in 2002 Gujarat Riots Case". The Wire. 20 April 2018. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  19. ^ "Naroda Patiya massacre: Who is Maya Kodnani?". Yahoo! News India. 31 August 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2014.