A special city court deferred to Friday the sentencing of the 24 people convicted in the Gulberg society massacre in which 69 people, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, were killed as communal violence swept Gujarat in 2002.
Ahmedabad special sessions court judge PB Desai had on June 2 convicted 24 of the 66 accused, including Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Atul Vaidya, but rejected the charge of conspiracy. Eleven were convicted of murder.
During a hearing on June 6, the prosecution led by advocate SM Vora sought capital punishment for the 11 murder accused.
The prosecution argued for life imprisonment, if not capital punishment, for all the accused, calling it a “rarest of the rare” case. It argued for equal punishment for all the 24 accused, saying it was a case of mass murder.
Those convicted include Meghji Chaudhary, a former Congress councillor, who joined the BJP in 2014, and VHP leader Atul Vaidya. Both have been convicted of lesser offences and not murder.
The massacre was one of the worst single incidents in the days-long riots in Gujarat that left more than 1,000 people dead. The incident came a day after a coach of the Sabarmati Express was burnt near Godhra train station on February 27, 2002 in which 59 Hindu activists were killed.
Zakia Jafri, wife of Ehsan Jafri, had termed the judgment “half justice” and said she would challenge it in higher courts.