Senior Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi, who along with the former Gujarat Minister Maya Kodnani and others is likely to be recommended for death penalty by the Gujarat government, on Saturday said they had been made “scapegoats.”

Mr. Bajrangi, serving sentence for the Naroda Patiya massacre in Ahmedabad during the 2002 riots that left over 90 persons dead, told reporters that, “There is no role of the State government, but [to seek death penalty for them] it was all decided by the Special Investigation Team [probing the massacres].”

“But we know that we have been made scapegoats,” Mr. Bajrangi, who has been granted bail for two days since his wife had to undergo an operation here, said.

He did not name either Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party or other Sangh Pariwar set-ups like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal.

Asked if it was an individual or organisation that has made them scapegoats, he said he did not want to go into all that, “But I only want to say that no political party in this country bothers for the Hindus.”

He went on, “If this trend continues, each one of us would be wearing [Muslim] caps after 20 years.”

Asked whether he felt that he was a victim of some political conspiracy, Mr. Bajrangi reiterated, “I won’t say any of it, but that we have been made scapegoats though we are innocent.”

Sangh Pariwar outfits like the VHP and the Bajrang Dal that had turned against Modi in recent years are shell-shocked that the very government that they considered to be their own was on the verge of seeking death penalty for their leaders.

The State government, however, has been maintaining that it was the SIT’s decision and that it had no locus in it.