Wednesday, March 16, 2011

HC confirmation sought in Godhra carnage verdict

Ahmedabad: The sessions judge, who awarded death sentence to 11 persons in the Godhra train burning case, has sought confirmation of the ruling from the Gujarat high court. The proceedings in this regard were initiated on Wednesday.

Acting on the confirmation appeal by Godhra sessions judge P R Patel, a divison bench of Justice R R Tripathi and Justice P P Bhatt asked the lower court to prepare the case papers of all 11 convicts. Further hearing on this issue has been kept on April 6. Special public prosecutor in this case, JM Panchal said that it would take some time to prepare the case papers, called paper book in legal parlance, there was a huge bulk of documents in the case. It is expected that the final hearing in this case could take some time to begin, as the state government is supposed to appeal against the acquittals. Also those found guilty have three month’s time to appeal against the conviction.

Earlier this month, the designated court had awarded capital punishment to 11 persons and life imprisonment to 20 in the Godhra carnage case after terming the incident as rarest of the rare. 59 people, mostly kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya, were burnt to death in S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express on February, 2002. Massive rioting across the state followed the incident, resulting into death of more than 1,000 people.

After dropping of Pota charges in this case, the trial began seven years after the incident against 94 persons. The court found 31 guilty of conspiracy, murder, rioting, unlawful assembly, while it acquitted 63 for want of evidence against them. The court concluded that the Muslims attacked the train with vengeance and the motive behind it was communal. Those who got capital punishment in this case are — Haji Bilal, Abdul Razak Kurkur, Jabir Binyamin Behra, Ramjani Behra, Hasan Charkha, Mehboob Chanda, Salim Zarda, Siraj Mohammad Abdul Meda alias Bala, Irfan Kalandar alias Irfan Bhopo, Irfan Pataliya and Mehbub Latiko.

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