Seven people, convicted of killing three Muslims in violence that followed the 2002 Godhra riots, were given life imprisonment by the Gujarat High Court on Monday. The division bench of justices Harsha Devani and Biren Vaishnav overruled the 2011 verdict of a trial court that had acquitted three of the seven people and convicted the remaining four for lesser offences.
The seven convicted were Naranbhai Samantbhai Bharwad, Valabhai Gelabhai Bharwad, Udaji Ranchhodbhai Thakor, Satabhai alias Haider Gela Bharwad, Merabhai Gelabhai Bharwad, Mulabhai Gelabhai Bharwad and Viththal alias Kuchiyo Moti Bharwad. According to The Indian Express, with this, nine of the 10 accused in this case have been given life imprisonment. The bench had earlier sentenced Bhopa Bharwad and Bachu Thakor to life imprisonment.
A mob of around 40 people had attacked Muslim residents near Valana railway crossing on February 28, 2002, when they tried to stop them from demolishing a dargah. While two people died on the spot, another succumbed to injuries later at a hospital in Ahmedabad. This came a day after a mob torched a coach of the Sabarmati Express in Godhra and killed 59 passengers returning from Ayodhya.