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All accused in riot case acquitted

Special Correspondent

AHMEDABAD: The Vadodara fast track court acquitted on Tuesday all the 108 accused in the Avdhootnagar riot case in Makarpura locality in which two Muslims were hacked to death on March 17, 2002.

The judge, C. M. Atodaria, even while passing strictures against the police for not providing adequate security to the minorities, acquitted the accused for lack of evidence and proper identification.

Unlike the Best Bakery case where also the same court had acquitted all the 21 accused, there was no "hostile witness'' in the Avdhootnagar case.

According to the prosecution, a group of Muslims, who had earlier deserted their homes for fear of attack, had returned on that day under police protection to take away some of their essential luggage to the relief camps where they were staying.

Under cover of darkness, they were loading the tempos they had brought with them when the local Hindus realised what was happening. A mob of about 5,000 people collected in the area and started pelting stones at them. While some of the Muslims managed to escape after sustaining injuries, two youths riding on a motorbike were chased by the mob and were caught on the outskirts of Avdhootnagar.

They were allegedly done to death by some in the mob carrying swords and dharias.

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