The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday granted bail to Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Atul Vaidya, who was convicted in the Gulberg Society massacre case. This is the first time a convict got bail in the case, reported The Indian Express.
The division bench, headed by Justice Abhilasha Kumari, said that Vaidya’s petition against his conviction is pending. The court also argued that he has already served one year in jail. Vaidya was sentenced to seven years in jail in connection with the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Ahmedabad.
On June 2, 2016, a special Ahmedabad court had convicted Vaidya and 23 others. While 11 people were sentenced to life in prison, 12 others got seven years in jail. One other convict was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The court had also acquitted 36 in the case.
In 2002, a mob of nearly 20,000 people attacked and killed 69 Muslims, including Congress legislator Ehsan Jafri, in the Ahmedabad neighbourhood. The attack took place a day after 59 people, mainly Hindu pilgrims, died when the Sabarmati Express was set on fire in Godhra.
Relatives of those killed in the incident had criticised the sentences the convicts got. The prosecution had sought death penalty or life imprisonment for the convicts, while the defence lawyer had argued for minimum punishment, saying eight witnesses were unable to recognise the convicts.