Other States

Gujarat HC awards 10-year jail term to three convicts in Naroda Patiya massacre case

Some of the 32 people convicted for their role in one episode of the Gujarat riots are escorted to prison in a police vehicle in Ahmedabad, in this August 2012 photograph.

Some of the 32 people convicted for their role in one episode of the Gujarat riots are escorted to prison in a police vehicle in Ahmedabad, in this August 2012 photograph.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

more-in

After their conviction on April 20 by the same court, the trio had sought further hearing on their quantum of sentence on the grounds that they were not properly represented.

The Gujarat High Court on Monday awarded 10 year imprisonment to three persons convicted in the case of the Naroda Patiya massacre that occurred during the 2002 riots. They were part of the 16 people convicted by the Division Bench on April 20.

The court said any lenient sentence would amount to travesty of justice, and the sentence must be proportionate to the brutality of their crime. “Imposing too lenient a sentence will amount to travesty of justice... Imposition of 10 years of rigorous imprisonment will be adequate punishment.” Any liberal attitude to such offences would be “counter-productive” and “against the interest of society,” said a Division Bench of Justices Harsha Devani and A.S. Supehia, which found P.J. Rajput, Umesh Bharwad and Rakumar Chaumal guilty. The court asked them to surrender within six weeks.

After their conviction on April 20, the three sought further hearing on the quantum of sentence, arguing that they were not properly represented. These convicts were earlier acquitted by the SIT court that conducted the trial.

 

However, the High Court found them guilty while hearing appeals against the convictions and the acquittals.

“The court cannot set aside the agony and anguish of the victims... Offences are not against individuals but [against] society at large, and have the consequence of polarising society,” the Bench said.

They were found guilty of crimes, other than murder, with the maximum punishment of life imprisonment or 10 years, under Section 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house) of the Indian Penal Code.

 

In its April 20 judgment on the appeals, the court convicted 16 persons, including the then Bajrang Dal leader, Babu Bajrangi, and acquitted 18 others, among them being former BJP Minister Maya Kodnani, who was called the main accused by the trial court. Out of 13 of these convicts, except the three sentenced on Monday, all except one were handed 21 years of rigorous imprisonment and one was sentenced to 10 years in jail.

In the original case, there were 61 accused. In August 2012, the special SIT court found 32 guilty and acquitted 29. The case pertains to the killing of 97 people, most of them from the minority community, in the Naroda Patiya area of Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002, a day after the Sabarmati Express was torched at Godhra, an incident that triggered riots across the State, in which more than 1,000 people were killed.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Related Topics Other States
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 5:07:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/gujarat-hc-awards-10-year-ri-to-three-convicts-in-naroda-patiya-case/article24252761.ece

Next Story