Ahmedabad: Gujarat Police have come in for scathing criticism by a special court here for their handling of the riots at Naroda Patiya in 2002 and also initial probe into the ghastly incident in which 96 people were massacred.
The designated court, which had last week awarded extended life imprisonment to 31 accused, including BJP legislator Maya Kodnani, came down heavily on the police for their "carelessness, insensitiveness and ineptness" in the handling and investigations into the worst post-Godhra riot case.
In her judgement, copies of which were made available to the convicts today, Judge Jyotsana Yagnik slammed the then Police Inspector of Naroda, K K Mysorewala, who was also the first Investigating officer (IO) of the case.
"While people were flocking the streets, Shri K K Mysorewala reported to the Control Room that "everything is okay (`khairiyat hai`). It was like "When Rome was burning, Nero was fiddling", the judge said.
The court criticised Mysorewala for his ineptness in controlling the riots on February 28, 2002.
It has posed some pointed questions to police. "The question remains as to why the stone-pelters were not arrested then and there? Police could have caught the members of the mob on whom the police wielded baton/stick. The normal mentality of a mob is to run away if firing is done.
"Hence, the fact of firing by the police is doubtful. No cartridge has been found from anywhere. One policeman with a revolver is sufficient to scare away many persons. Police could have cordoned some of the members of the mob."
Some of the riot victims had filed an application demanding that Mysorewala be made an accused in the case but the court rejected it. "This court believes that in all such cases of neglect or may be inefficiency, one cannot be labelled to have malice or any criminality."