The Gujarat High Court today commuted the death sentence given by trial court to 11 convicts in 2002 Godhra train carnage case to life imprisonment. It has uphold the death sentence of 20 other convicts in Godhra case.
The coach S-6 of the Ahmedabad-Varanasi Sabarmati Express was set ablaze at Gujarat’s Godhra station on February 27, 2002, killing 59 people, most of whom were Hindu activists known as ‘kar sevaks’ returning from Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh. Within hours, deadly riots had broken across the western state that raged on for days and killed more than 1,000 people.
On March 1, 2011, a special SIT court had convicted 31 people, accepting the prosecution’s argument that the train burning was not an accident but part of a conspiracy. Eleven people were sentenced to death and 20 others given life in jail. Sixty three people were acquitted.
Out of over 130 accused persons, 94 could be put on trial before the trial court. Even after the trialcourt delivered its verdict on February 22, 2011, some of the accused were nabbed and put on trial.
Last week, the Gujarat High Court had upheld the judgment of a metropolitan court that gave a clean chit to the then chief minister Narendra Modi and 60 others in connection with the 2002 post-Godhra riots, and rejected Zakia Jafri’s allegations that the riots were part of a “larger conspiracy”.
Besides, it questioned the acquittal of 63 persons. The kin of the fire victims' too have sought death for all accused persons.