<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Marking a change in the practice of identification of accused in the Naroda gaam riots case, principal city sessions judge PB Desai ordered that now on, the witness would have to identify the accused from the ones present in court and not simply say that he knew the person, as has been the practice till now. The order was implemented on Monday itself, with the defence witness calling out to 23 accused and identifying them in the manner prescribed. The witness, Javal Patel, submitted that he knew former MLA Maya Kodnani but she was absent from the court room. He added that all the 23 accused as well as Kodnani were not part of the rioting mob that had reached Naroda gaam on February 28, 2002. Additionally, he said that he had not seen any of them in the area on that day. Patel told the court that he is the owner of Prabhat newspaper and publicity and has a shop near Naroda police station. He works from 2 am to 12 noon every day. He goes to Kalupur at 2 am to get newspapers and returns to Naroda at 5am. From there, he distributes the copies to hawkers. He shuts shop at noon. On the said day too, he carried out all tasks as per routine. He told the court that the situation was normal till 10 am. Around 10.15 am, a mob approached from Dehgam side. It scattered when a police jeep appeared on the scene. He then closed the shop at noon and left. In August 2008, he had been summoned to give a statement at old Sachivalaya in Gandhinagar in this case. During cross-examination he said that he was aware of the bandh call given by VHP. He said the mob had around 100-125 members. They were shouting, but did not have any weapons. He said he was aware that the accused he identified had been arrested in the case. He said he had not given any application between 2002 and 2008 despite the police station being so close to his shop. In another development, then mamlatdar of Godhra and current additional district magistrate of Panchmahals had been called to the court on Monday with records of the bodies recovered from Sabarmati express as well as the persons to whom the bodies had been handed over to. He submitted that he needed time to compile the records. The court granted him time. It has now kept the matter for further hearing on June 28.

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Changes in identification of Naroda gaam riots accused: Witnesses, not lawyers, to name them