The doctor who performed autopsy on the bodies of three victims of the Naroda-Patiya massacre during the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat has denied that the womb of a pregnant woman was slit open by the attackers.

During cross-examination before special court judge Jyotsnaben Yagnik on Wednesday, Dr. J.S. Kanoria said he found the foetus in place in the womb of Kausarbanu Sheikh. As part of the post-mortem procedure, it was he who took the foetus out of the womb, the doctor said.

It was widely alleged during the riots that the then State Bajrang Dal convener, Babu Bajrangi, had led a violent mob of activists, some of whom not only burnt alive local Muslims but also raped the pregnant woman, slit open her womb with a sharp-edged weapon and threw both the mother and the foetus into a fire.

Dr. Kanoria admitted that he had found Kausarbanu's body 100 per cent burnt. To a question by the public prosecutor, he did not rule out the possibility of her having been thrown alive into a fire by the attackers, resulting in her death, but disagreed with the claim that her womb was slit open.

As a large number of bodies were arriving at the Ahmedabad civil hospital, Dr. Kanoria was specially summoned there from the Nadiad hospital and he conducted post-mortem on three bodies including that of a pregnant woman, who was later identified as Kausarbanu. It was claimed that Babu Bajrangi “boasted” before a spy camera during the Tehelka sting operation that the mob he led had killed 91 Muslim men and women at Naroda-Patiya here. He also told Tehelka that the FIR filed against him accused him of slitting open the womb of a pregnant woman, which charge he subsequently denied.

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