In the third instance of justice for the 2002 riot victims of Gujarat, a special court in Anand on Friday gave life imprisonment to nine persons in the second Ode village disturbances case.
In this incident, three persons of a minority community were burnt to death on March 1, 2002, in the aftermath of the Godhra train-burning incident of February 27 that year.
This is the second Ode village riots case in which a judicial verdict has been pronounced. Watch
In the first one, on April 12 another court had sentenced 18 people to life imprisonment while awarding seven years’ jail to five others in connection with the massacre of 23 persons, also on March 1, 2002.On Friday, special court judge RM Sarin convicted the nine under charges of murder, rioting and criminal conspiracy and acquitted 30 others.
Of the 30 acquitted, the court said 17 were found to be not involved in the incident while the remaining 13 were given the benefit of the doubt.
One person was awarded six months' imprisonment because he was found guilty of "voluntarily causing hurt to the victims" (such as throwing stones at the victims). There were 41 accused against whom charges were framed on the complaint of a person by the name Rehana Yusufbhai Vohra.
The Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team headed by former CBI director RK Raghavan probed the case in addition to six others, apart from the train-burning incident itself.
Public prosecutor BC Trivedi said: “We had sought capital punishment for the convicts.”
Lawyer VK Patel, who appeared for the accused, said the verdict was based on investigation that had several loopholes.
“The court has apparently relied on eyewitness accounts. We will study the verdict and decide our course of action.”
In the Sardarpura village case, 31 persons were awarded the life term in November 2011.