Fourteen years after a mob of nearly 20,000 attacked a muslim society in Gujarat, a Special SIT court on Thursday convicted 24 people and acquitted 36.
Out of the 24 guilty, 11 have been convicted for murder under IPC sec 302 and the other 13 others have been convicted under lesser charges, reports Indian Express.
The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on June 6.
In the riots, 69 persons including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri were killed. Among the 36 acquitted is Bipin Patel, a sitting BJP corporator from Asarva seat. He was also the corporator in 2002 when the massacre happened and won the election for fourth consecutive term last year.
The court has also ruled that the massacre “was not a pre-planned conspiracy”, reports The Hindu.
There were 66 accused named by the SIT in the case, of which nine have been behind bars for the last 14 years, while others are out on bail.
During the trial, the riots victim’s lawyer had argued that the massacre was a pre-planned criminal conspiracy hatched by the accused to kill minority community members of the Gulberg Society.
The defence refuted the conspiracy theory of the prosecution and claimed that the mob resorted to violence only after slain Congress MP Eshan Jafri fired several rounds on them.
The Gulberg Society case is one of the nine cases of the 2002 Gujarat riots probed by the Supreme Court appointed SIT.
The incident had taken place a day after S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was burnt near Godhra train station, where in 58 ‘karsevaks’ were killed.
(With inputs from PTI)
(Feature image source: Twitter | @IndiaToday)