The Gujarat High Court
11 convicts in the Godhra train burning case were on 1st march 2011 handed down death sentence while 20 others were given life imprisonment by a special court in the 2002 Godhra incident incident.
In 2002, the coach (S-6) of the train Sabarmati Express coming from Bihar (Darbhanga) destined to Gujarat (Ahmedabad) was burned in Godhra (Gujarat) . About 58 people were burned to death, which consists of mostly Hindu Pilgrims.
This event triggered a widespread communal violence in Gujarat that resulted in deaths of about 790 to 2000 Muslims and about 254 Hindus.
In the very first police FIR after the incident, the incident was viewed as an unplanned mob fury.
But, a special investigation team (SIT) of Gujarat state police put forth an argument that the act was pre-planned by a Muslim Group. It was said by the police that they had stockpiled about 140 liters of petrol a day before the attacks had to take place and the very purpose of these attacks was to kill the Kar-Sewaks.
In 2004, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav appointed Justice U C Banerjee to investigate Godhra incident.The Railways Ministry setup a commission that reported in 2005 that the fire was an accident. The Gujarat high court ruled the formation of this inquiry commission as “illegal” and “unconstitutional”. At present, all the reports of the commission by Railways stand invalid. Moreover, the outcome of this report has been questioned by BJP as politically motivated as its findings coincide with elections.
Special judge P. R. Patel considering this case as “rarest of rare” pronounced death penalty for 11 out of the 31 convicted in the case while 20 others were sentenced to life imprisonment.
“The court looking into their active role in the conspiracy and setting afire the S6 coach of Sabarmati Express train near Godhra, gave death penalty to 11 people,” public prosecutor J. M. Panchal said.
The court also slapped punishment on them under various other sections, which will be concurrent to their life term.
The prosecution had sought death sentence for all the 31 convicts, saying that it was a heinous act.
A special fast track court convicted 31 accused in Godhra train burning case.
Another 63 people were acquitted in the Godhra train burning conspiracy.
The special fast track court was appointed by Gujarat High Court after orders from the supreme court of India.
Defence counsel I. M. Munshi said the convicts will definitely appeal against the punishment awarded to them.
“It (the punishment) is very difficult to swallow. Till we get the copy of the judgement, we cannot comment much,” Munshi said.
We definitely don’t what is more difficult to swallow – The killing of innocent people or the death sentence to those killed innocents. I think its the former.
Godhra Train Burning Results
Godhra verdict: Death for 11, life term for 20 – Economy and Politics – livemint.com.
- Godhra verdict pronounced (epiloguepress.wordpress.com)