The Gujarat High Court is likely to deliver a verdict on a set of appeals challenging convictions and acquittals by a Special Investigation Team court in the 2002 Godhra train coach burning case. Coach S-6 of the Sabarmati Express was set on fire on February 27, 2002, at the Godhra station. Fifty-nine people were killed in the incident, which triggered state-wide communal riots.
A bench of Justice AS Dave and Justice GR Udhwani will pronounce their verdict 29 months after they completed hearing arguments on appeals filed against the SIT court’s verdict, the Times of India reported.
The special SIT court had, on March 1, 2011, convicted 31 people and acquitted 63 in the case. Eleven people were sentenced to death and 20 were awarded the life imprisonment. Several appeals have since been filed in the High Court challenging the conviction, while the state government has questioned the acquittal of 63 people.
The court had convicted 31 people while accepting the prosecution’s contention that there was a conspiracy behind the incident, PTI reported. Those acquitted included the prime accused, Maulana Umarji, former president of the Godhra Municipality Mohammad Hussain Kalota, Mohammad Ansari, and Nanumiya Chaudhary of Uttar Pradesh’s Gangapur.