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'Verdict has brought sense of justice'

Gujarat Viswa Parishad Parishad secretary Ranchhodbhai Bharwad on Tuesday welcomed the special trial court verdict in the Godhra train massacre but demanded that the state should challenge the acquittal of 64 people.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2011 23:27 IST
Mahesh Langa

Gujarat Viswa Parishad Parishad secretary Ranchhodbhai Bharwad on Tuesday welcomed the special trial court verdict in the Godhra train massacre but demanded that the state should challenge the acquittal of 64 people.

"We always held that the Godhra case was a conspiracy hatched to kill Hindus. It was an act of terrorism," he said, adding, "Though the court has upheld the conspiracy theory, it has let off 64 people because of lack of evidence".

His views were shared by Gayatri Panchal, who lost both his parents, who were in the train.

"The verdict has brought a sense of justice. Without any reason, these people killed 59 innocent people including my parents."

The verdict, which came nine years after the incident, has evoked mixed reactions from relatives of the accused who were acquitted as well as victims of the tragedy.

A local resident of Godhra said: "I'm very happy that my brother, who was not even present at the site at the time of incident, was arrested by police without any evidence against him. The court has finally let him off."

The man refused to be identified, saying Gujarat police might still harass them through "false charges" in another case.