14 convicted in Gujarat riots case get bail
Fourteen persons convicted for killing Muslims in the 2002 Gujarat riots were granted bail by the Supreme Court on Tuesday on the condition that they engage in community service and spiritual activities. Appeals filed by them against their conviction by the Gujarat high court are pending before the apex court.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde ordered that the convicts, once released, should be split into two batches, one sent to Indore and the other to Jabalpur where they will engage in social work.
The convicts should stay out of Gujarat and their conduct should be supervised and monitored by district legal services authorities, the bench ordered. The legal services authorities, the court directed, should submit periodical reports to the court regarding the conduct of the convicts.
After the order was delivered by the court, there was lack of clarity on whether the case pertained to the Ode case the Sardarpura – both incidents date back to March 2002 and happened after Hindu pilgrims were burnt to death in a train in Godhra .
The lawyer for the petitioners told the press that the case pertained to Ode. The order of the Supreme Court was not available at the time of writing.
Twenty-three Muslims lost their lives in the Ode massacre after a mob burnt down a house in which they had taken shelter in Ode village in Anand district of Gujarat.
Forty-seven accused were tried and as many as 158 witnesses examined in the trial which began in 2009.
The trial court, on April 12, 2012, convicted 23 people while acquitting the same number of accused. Out of the 23 who were convicted, 18 were awarded life imprisonment while five were handed seven-years imprisonment. One person died during the trial.
The Gujarat high court, in appeal against the trial court verdict, confirmed the conviction of nineteen out of the twenty-three convicted by trial court.
Out of the nineteen who were convicted, fourteen were given life imprisonment while five were given seven years.
In the Sardarpura case, thirty-three Muslims were killed. A special court convicted thirty-one persons for the killings and awarded life imprisonment to them. The Gujarat high court on October 2016 upheld the conviction of 17, while acquitting 14.