All the six accused in a 2002 Gujarat riot–related case, in which a woman and her son were burnt alive, have been acquitted by a local for lack of conclusive evidence.

Additional sessions judge M.P. Sheth said the prosecution could not prove its case beyond reasonable doubt against those arrested and chargesheeted.

The police could not find a single eyewitness to the incident though it happened in broad daylight on a busy road in the Gomtipur locality in old Ahmedabad.

It is stated that on April 21, 2002, about a month-and-half after the pogrom in February-March, Firoz was riding a motorbike, with his mother Hamidabanu on the pillion, towards the labour-dominated Rakhial cross-road, when he was intercepted by a mob near Parmanand ni-Chali. The two were made to get down and petrol, probably taken from the same vehicle, was poured on them and they were set afire in the presence of hundreds of people.

A section of the mob later damaged and looted some nearby shops belonging to the minority community.

One of the shopowners lodged a police complaint immediately, claiming to have identified seven persons. But the police arrested six of the accused only in 2006. Another accused named by complainant, Madhukant, had died by then.

In their probe, the police identified Vicki Christian as the gang leader, and later filed a charge sheet giving details of the gory incident.

After the verdict, the public prosecutor admitted that the investigation was very poor, particularly because the police failed to take immediate steps and they arrested the accused only after four years of the incident.


The battle against forgetting February 28, 2012