AHMEDABAD — Payal Kukrani, the daughter of Manoj Kukrani, who is one of the 16 convicts in the Naroda Patiya riots case in which 97 Muslims were killed, has been awarded ticket by the BJP to contest from the Naroda Constituency for the upcoming Assembly elections.
Manoj Kukrani was one of 32 people convicted in the Naroda Patiya massacre case by a special court in Ahmedabad in 2012. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the massacre and later granted bail on health grounds.
The Gujarat High Court had in 2018 upheld the conviction of Manoj Kukrani and 15 others in the Naroda Patiya riots case. He is currently out on bail.
At least 97 Muslims were killed in Ahmedabad’s Naroda Patiya area on February 28, 2002, when a mob comprising thousands of people descended upon the locality, and murdered them. The incident was one of the worst cases of mob violence during the Gujarat riots.
Payal Kukrani (30), who works as an anaesthetist at a hospital in the Gurukul area of western Ahmedabad, has been associated with the BJP for the last 5-6 years and had campaigned for Thawani in 2017.
Reacting on the BJP’s move to field her, Payal Kukrani said, “I am grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, state BJP president C R Paatil, Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and all party workers and members. My mother is a corporator and my parents have long been associated with the BJP. I had participated in the election process in the past,” according to reports.
Her mother Reshma Kukrani, a local BJP corporator, said that she would provide complete support to her daughter and make sure that she wins the election.
Talking on the case against her father and his conviction, Payal said, “Obviously it was tough on me and my family, but we got through it. The case was there in the High Court, then we went to the Supreme Court… He is out on bail right now.”
The BJP has held the Naroda Assembly seat since 1990. Former BJP minister Maya Kodnani, who was also one of the convicts in the Naroda Patiya riots, case had served as three-term MLA from the Naroda seat. Being elected as an MLA in 1998 she retained the seat in 2002 and 2007. She was arrested in 2009.
Kodnani is also accused of murder in the riots that took place on February 28, 2002, next door in Naroda Gram, where 11 Muslims were killed. She was acquitted by the high court in 2018.