The 1992-93 post-Babri riots may be Mumbai’s shame, but sloppy police work and hostile witnesses combine to ensure against conviction in many cases.
On Friday, a special court acquitted Shiv Sena MLA Gajanan Kirtikar, corporator Ravindra Waikar and 18 others in a 15-year-old riot case. Magistrate Rajeswari Bapat-Sarkar, who heads the special court, acquitted Kirtikar saying the police had not produced any evidence to nail the accused. Incidentally, the magistrate is the relative of Shrikant Bapat, who was the commissioner of Mumbai at the time riots engulfed the city following the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992.
Besides Kirtikar and Waikar, the other prominent leaders in the case were former Sena MLA Nandkumar Kale, who is now with the Congress, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad activist Lalta Pratap Singh.
The B N Srikrishna commission which probed the riots said: “On January 4, 1993, a big mob of Hindus led by Gajanan Kirtikar, Ramesh More and other Shiv Sena activists took out a morcha to the Jogeshwari police station complaining about the lack of security for Hindus. Some of the people in the morcha attacked Chacha Nagar Masjid and the Muslims in the vicinity and injured them.”