A special court on Thursday found 24 people guilty in connection with the Gulberg Society massacre case, reported The Indian Express. Thirty-six others were acquitted, including a Bharatiya Janata Party corporator Bipin Patel. The police officer who who had lodged the first FIR in the case but was later included in the list of accused, was also given a clean chit by the court. A total of 59 of the 66 accused were present in court of the verdict. The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on June 6.
In 2002, a mob of nearly 20,000 people attacked and killed 69 Muslims, including Congress legislator Ehsan Jafri, in the Ahmedabad neighbourhood. The horrific incident took place a day after 59 people, mainly Hindu pilgrims, died when the Sabarmati Express was set on fire at Godhra.
The petitioners reacted to the court acquitting most of the accused in the case. Zakiya Jafri, the wife of the deceased Congress leader, said she will appeal against the verdict in higher courts. "Justice has been done in a miniscule manner, we are not happy about it," said a former Gujarat Intelligence chief.
A woman named Rupa, who lost her 14-year-old son in the attack, told NDTV, "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 have to be punished." The Supreme Court had asked the Special Investigative Team bench to give its verdict by May 31.