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Godhra train burning case: two sentenced to life imprisonment, three acquitted

The S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express burns at Godhra railway station in Gujarat on February 27, 2002.   | Photo Credit: AP

A special SIT court on Monday sentenced two persons for life imprisonment while three others were acquitted in the 2002 Godhra train burning case in which 59 kar sevaks returning from Godhra were burnt alive leading to the communal riots in Gujarat.

Special SIT court judge H.C. Vora awarded the life sentence to Farooq Bhana and Imran Sheru after the prosecution established their role as conspirators in the burning of the two coaches.

The court acquitted Hussain Suleman Mohan, Kasam Bhamedi and Faruk Dhantiya for want of evidence implicating their role in the case.

The five were apprehended in 2015-2016 from different locations and were tried in a special court set up inside Sabarmati central jail in Ahmedabad.

It may be noted that as many as eight accused of the case are still absconding.

Earlier in 2011, the SIT court had convicted 31 persons in the case while upholding the conspiracy charge against the accused. Sixty three others, including Maulana Umarji, who was described as the main conspirator by the Gujarat Police, were acquitted by the trial court.

Of the 31 convicts, 11 were awarded capital punishment, while 20 others were handed the life term in jail. However, in 2017, the Gujarat High Court commuted death sentence of 11 convicts to life imprisonment and upheld life imprisonment of 20 convicts awarded by the trial court.

In February 2002, a mob has attacked Sabarmati Express in which the Hindu pilgrims were travelling back from Ayodhya. The incident near Godhra railway station had sparked off massive communal conflagration in which more than 1,000 people were massacred across the state.

Almost seven years after the riots, the trial in the Godhra case had begun in 2009 and 134 people were tried under draconian POTA, which was subsequently repealed by the centre. Of those 134 accused, 14 were released over lack of evidence, five were juveniles, five died during proceedings of over nine years and 16 were absconding at the time.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2021 12:18:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/godhra-train-burning-case-two-sentenced-to-life-three-acquitted/article24790846.ece

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