11 get life imprisonment, others given lesser sentence

32gulbarg-society The arguments on the quantum of sentence came to an end on June 10 with final submission by the prosecution

Eleven persons have been given life imprisonment in the Gulbarg Society massacre in which 69 persons, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, were killed during post Godhra riots in 2002.

Special Court Judge P.B. Desai on Friday also gave 12 convicts seven years of jail and one convict 10 years of imprisonment. Among those who have got seven years of imprisonment includes Atul Vaid, a VHP worker.

Those who have got life imprisonment have been convicted for murder under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.

The arguments on the quantum of sentence came to an end on June 10 with final submission by the prosecution.

Earlier this month, the court had acquitted 36 accused. Sitting BJP corporator from Ahmedabad Bipin Patel was among those acquitted. Criminal conspiracy theory was not accepted.

Justice Desai observed that the Gulbarg Society incident was one of the darkest periods in the history of Ahmedabad. He also recommended that the state government should not remit the sentence. Legal experts said that the recommendation is not binding on the state government.

Gulbarg Society case was one of the cases that were looked into by Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team headed by former CBI chief R.K. Raghavan. In different cases of riots that broke out during 2002, now judgment remains in Naroda Village case.

Teesta Setalvad of Citizens of Justice and Peace, whose organisation helped the victims fight the case, said that they were not totally satisfied with the judgment and that they had demanded life imprisonment for all the accused.

Jafri’s widow Zakia reacted to the judgment saying that she was not satisfied with it and reiterated that she would continue to fight.

While delivering the judgment, the judge took into consideration the past of the convicts, their behavior in the jail and when they were out on bail.

69 people were murdered during the Gujarat riots in 2002 when around 400 men stormed the Gulberg Society. Congress lawmaker Ehsan Jafri was one among the many murdered by the mob. The attack was triggered after a coach of the Sabarmati Express was set on fire, killing 58 people, including karsevaks.

The incident took place near the Godhra railway station on February 27, 2002. It was one of the nine cases of the Gujarat riots probed by the Supreme Court-appointed SIT.

(With inputs from ANI)

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Topics : #Gujarat

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