The Gujarat government does not want to seek stricter punishment in the 2002 Gulberg Society massacre case, The Indian Express reported on Thursday. It has denied the special investigation team permission to move the High Court against a trial court’s acquittal of 14 people and to get the life imprisonment of 11 convicts changed to death penalty.
“We received one-page order of the state government last month [January] denying us permission to move the High Court against the judgement,” an unidentified senior officer in the SIT was quoted as saying. “The letter in Gujarati, which has been signed by an undersecretary, mentions that the state government accepts the verdict and that there is no ground to file appeal in the High Court.”
“Legally, the state government is the prosecuting agency, and without its nod the SIT alone cannot move the High Court,” the officer told The Indian Express. “We will be submitting the state government’s decision in our progress report in Supreme Court later this month.”
In 2002, a mob of nearly 20,000 people had attacked and killed 69 Muslims, including Congress legislator Ehsan Jafri, in Ahmedabad’s Gulberg Society. The incident took place a day after 59 people, mainly Hindu pilgrims, died when the Sabarmati Express was set on fire in Godhra.