As a special court on Friday awarded sentences to 24 persons convicted in the Gulbarg society massacre case, let’s take a look at all the Gujarat riots cases and their status of investigation, including those that are still pending in court.
The cases related to this massacre that took place in Naroda on February 28, 2002, in which 97 persons were killed, are still pending before the Gujarat High Court .
The trial court had sentenced former Gujarat minister and BJP leader Maya Kodnani, one of the prime accused, to 28 years of imprisonment. However the High Court suspended her sentence in July 2014 on grounds of her ill health.
A review petition filed by Zakia Jafri , wife of former MP Ehsan Jafri, who was killed in this massacre, is also pending before the High Court. She has challenged the lower court verdict accepting the Special Investigation Team (SIT) report giving a clean chit to the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others for masterminding the 2002 riots. The special trial court had convicted 32 accused, including former minister and sitting MLA Maya Kodnani, sitting BJP corporator Kishan Korani and Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajarangi. The accused were convicted for criminal conspiracy and murder with other charges under IPC.
The cases related to this massacre, in which 33 persons were burned to death at Sardarpura village in Mehsana on March 1, 2002, are currently under appeal challenging the trial court verdict, and therefore, pending before the High Court. In November 2011, a fast track court had sentenced 31 rioters to life imprisonment but acquitted 42 people for lack of evidence.
The trial in this case, relating to massacres in Naroda Gaam area of Ahmedabad, where 11 persons were killed, is still underway. This is the only case among those re-investigated by the Supreme Court-appointed SIT where trial is underway.
The Gulbarg Society massacre happened on February 28, 2002, when a Hindu mob attacked Gulbarg Society, a Muslim neighbourhood in Chamanpura, Ahmedabad. Most of the houses were burnt, and no less than 35 victims, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, were burnt alive, while 31 others were presumed dead, bringing the total death count to 69. On June 17, the special court in Ahmedabad pronounced life imprisonment to 11 convicts in this case, while 12 others were awarded seven years in prison. One person was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. The BJP corporator Bipin Patel was among the 36 acquitted in the 2002 Gulbarg Society massacre case by the trial court.
Godhra carnage case
The verdict in this case, in which the Sabarmati Express train in Godhra carrying kar sevaks was burnt on February 27, 2002, was delivered on March 1, 2011. The trial was completed and 11 accused were sentenced to death while 20 others were awarded life imprisonment by the POTA court on March 1, 2011. Sixty-three accused were acquitted, including Maulavi Umarji, who was named as the main conspirator.
Slideshow: From carnage to verdict
Ode village massacre
In this case in which 23 persons were killed in a village near Anand town in central Gujarat on March 1, 2002, the verdict was delivered on April 12, 2012 . The trial court convicted 23 persons while acquitting the same number of accused. Of the 23 convicted, 18 were awarded life imprisonment while the remaining five received seven years imprisonment.
Dipda Darwaja massacre
In this case a family of 11 persons, including four children and a 65 year-old woman, was killed in the mob attack at a house in the Dipda Darwaja locality at Visnagar town in north Gujarat on February 28, 2002, a day after the Godhra train carnage.
In the verdict delivered by a special court in Mehsana on July 30, 2012, 22 persons were convicted, of which one died during the trial while the remaining 21 were awarded life imprisonment for attempt to murder. The murder charge and criminal conspiracy could not be proved in the case.
Bilkis Bano case
On March 3, 2002, Bilkis Bano, who was then 19 and pregnant, was raped during the riots that broke out in Randhikpur village in Dahod district. In 2008, a sessions court had awarded life imprisonment to 11 men , of which three men were convicted of raping Bilkis. The Supreme Court had ordered a CBI probe into the case and shifted the trial to Maharashtra.
Best Bakery case
The Best Bakery, in the Hanuman Tekri area of Vadodara, was attacked by a mob, which burned down the bakery, killing 14 people on March 1, 2002. Of the 17 accused, nine were convicted and sentenced to life by a special court in Mumbai in 2006. The Supreme Court had ordered a re-trial of this case too, transferring it to Maharashtra. The Bombay High Court set aside the trial court verdict and acquitted five , while upholding the conviction of four in July 2012.
(With inputs from Mahesh Langa)