Verdict begins in Bilkis Bano case | india | Hindustan Times
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Verdict begins in Bilkis Bano case

A special court in Mumbai begins dictating the judgement in the Bilkis Yaqub Rasool (Bilkis Bano) gangrape case.

india Updated: Dec 09, 2007 18:10 IST

A special court in Mumbai has begun dictating the judgement in the Bilkis Yaqub Rasool (Bilkis Bano) gangrape case, in which members of the minority community in Gujarat were massacred in March 2002.

The trial, which started in January 2005, will finally conclude and the judgement will be delivered in due course by Additional Sessions Judge UD Salvi, who has been specially assigned this case by the Bombay High Court. Judge Salvi commenced dictating the judgement from December five.

The Court has framed charges against 19 accused for their alleged complicity in the attack on a group of 17 members of the minority community on March 3, 2002, in the aftermath of the Godhra riots, while the trial of one accused has been seperated. Judge Salvi separated the trial of accused Dr Sangeeta Prasad as she was under treatment.

The Supreme Court had transferred the trial of the case from Gujarat to Maharashtra on August 6, 2004 after Bano said the atmosphere in Gujarat was not conducive for a fair trial.

The prosecution has described the role of the accused in the attack on Devgarh Baria village of Dahod district in Gujarat, and also that of public servants in shielding the guilty.

The conspiracy was hatched between February 28, 2002 and March 3, 2002, the prosecution has told the court. Twelve of the 20 accused allegedly attacked the victims and gangraped Bilkis Bano, who was six-month pregnant. They also molested Bano's family members and assaulted them.

Of the 17 attacked, eight died, while six others have been reported missing. Three of them - Bilkis Bano, master Hussain and Sadaam -- survived the massacre.

Six police officers are charged with shielding the guilty, while a doctor couple, Arun Kumar and Sangeeta Prasad, are accused of destroying evidence.

The prosecution has also alleged that except the doctor couple, all the other accused had entered into a conspiracy to form unlawful assembly, carry lethal weapons, set houses of Muslims on fire, loot their properties, rape women and kill them.