Godhra verdict: 11 get death

The Gujarat High Court, established in the yea...

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.

Mint Reports

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.

Kasab awarded death sentence

Photograph of Ajmal Kasab, one of the ten terr...

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Justice Ranjana Desai upheld the death penalty against Ajmal Kasab for waging war against India in an attempt to destabilize the democracy.

The reasons cited by Justice Ranjan Desai for the death penalty are as follows:

The most serious charge is his involvement in waging a war against the Indian government

The stability of Indian government is the most essential and crucial aspect for the very existence of democracy.

Justice Ranjana Desai said: “Perhaps the weightiest aggravating circumstance is that Kasab waged a war against the Government of India pursuant to a conspiracy which was hatched in Pakistan, the object of which was to inter alia destabilise the Government of India and to weaken India’s economic might.”

“He indulged in mindless killings of innocent people with a view to overawing the Government of India and achieving cessation of a part of Indian territory. There was an attempt to create ill will and disaffection among different religions of India so as to damage its secular fabric. Waging war is a serious crime which calls for deterrent punishment.”

“[Kasab and co-conspirators] challenged the Indian Army and the State Police. Kasab targeted the CST [Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus] which is under the command of the Central government. Kasab challenged the sovereign authority of the Republic of India which offence calls for the severest punishment.”

The 2008 Mumbai attacks (often referred to as November 26 or 26/11) were more than 10 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai, India’s largest city, by terrorists who invaded from Pakistani seawaters. Kasab’s trial was delayed due to legal issues, as many Indian lawyers were unwilling to represent him.

Kasab’s trial began on 6 May 2009. He initially pleaded not guilty, but later admitted his guilt on 20 July 2009. He initially apologized for the attacks and claimed that he deserved the death penalty for his crimes, but later retracted these claims, saying that he had been tortured by police to force his confession, and that he had been arrested while roaming the beach.

At least 166 victims (civilians and security personnel) and nine attackers were killed in the attacks. Among the dead were 28 foreign nationals from 10 countries.

“In view of  the magnitude of attack, indicative of the preplanning,” the court called Ajmal Kasab “a threat to society.”

The court said that Ajmal Kasab was individually responsible for seven murders.

Justice Desai said it was “impossible to say that he was misguided by the LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba] and used by them as a tool. He voluntarily joined the terror outfit, decided to train for jihad and expressed his wish to carry out the 26/11 mission and he knew the consequences of his actions.

Why was Ajmal Kasab not pardoned by Justice Ranjana Desai
The court said that he did not appear to be repentant at all. He was perfectly sane. This portrays a scheming mind and not a mind of a mentally unstable person.
Referring to the Supreme Court’s observations that the punishment should befit the crime, the court rejected the argument that the death penalty would make a martyr of Kasab.
The court justified the death penalty by saying that in some cases, the harsh penalty of death is necessary to warn those who may want to take a similar path. The soft handling of a crime like this will erode the public confidence in the efficacy of law.
The magnitude of Kasab’s crime makes the sentence of life imprisonment inadequate. The court also said, “we feel we would never be as confident as we are today in confirming the death sentence.”

The Hindu : Front Page : Kasab waged a war against India: court.

Who is Ajmal Kasab ? (sequence of events)

  1. Mohammed Ajmal Amīr Kasāb is a Pakistani Islamic terrorist who was involved in the 2008 Mumbai attack.
  2. Ajmal Kasab is the only attacker captured alive by police and is currently in Indian custody.
  3. The Government of Pakistan initially denied that Ajmal Kasab was from Pakistan, but in January 2009, it officially accepted that he was a Pakistani citizen.
  4. 3rd May 2010: an Indian court convicted him of murder, waging war on India, possessing explosives, and other charges.
  5. 6th May 2010: The same trial court sentenced him to death on four counts and to a life sentence on five other counts.
  6. 21st Feb 2011: Bombay high court has upheld the death sentence