Special Court convicts 24, acquits 36 in Gulberg Massacare
Ahemdabad: In a much awaited judgement, delivered after 14 years, the special designated court, on Thursday, convicted 24 and acquitted 36 others in the 2002 Gulberg Society massacre, in Gujarat, in which 69 people were killed.The Gujarat government headed by Modi got a clean chit, as the special court rejected the conspiracy theory.
Quantum of punishment is to be pronounced on June 6.
24 accused convicted by special court, 36 others have been acquitted for lack of evidence.
Highlights of the judgement:
- While 24 of the 66 people have been convicted for the society massacre, 11 have been found guilty of murder and 13 others for lesser crimes.
- The special court acquitted, Bipin Patel, Bhartiya Janata Party corporator from Asarva area, who was one of the key accused in the case.
- Atul Vaidya, a member of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) has also been held as the key convict of the massacre.
- Police inspector K G Erda, who had lodged the first FIR in the case, too was later arraigned as an accused.
- Six other accused died during the trial and one is still absconding.
The case has seen several ups and downs during the trial.
- P B Desai, who pronounced the verdict, was the fourth judge who presided over the trial
- The previous judges had concluded the hearing, but couldn’t pronounce the judgment due to Supreme Court’s stay and their retirement.
- The current judge took over the trial in November 2014 and concluded the final arguments in September 2015.
About the Gulberg massacre:
- A mob of nearly 20,000 people had attacked the Gulberg society on February 28, 2002.
- The mob attacked the society a day after the attack on Sabarmati Express train at Godhra left 69 people dead.
Society’s boundary walls were the houses were torched.
- Former Congress Member of Parliament, Ehsan Jafri, had been dragged out, hacked and burnt to death along with 68 others.
- The phone calls made to police during the attack went unanswered.
- Charred remains of 39 victims only were recovered by the police, while, the rest were presumed dead.
What victim's kins said:
- A Parsi mother, who had lost her 14-year-old son Azhar, in the carnage, thanked the court for punishing those who killed her son.
- "The tragedy that befell on us... I don't want any mother, family to face it. How can anyone without fear of law go and kill people? They had to be punished," she said.