18 get life for Ode massacre, five get 7 yrs in jail
A special trial court on Thursday gave life imprisonment to 18 people for their involvement in the killing of 23 Muslims in Ode village near Anand on March 1, 2002. HT reports. Three down, six to go | Video | The carnage at Odeindia Updated: Apr 13, 2012 08:42 IST
A special trial court on Thursday gave life imprisonment to 18 people for their involvement in the killing of 23 Muslims in Ode village near Anand on March 1, 2002.
Five others received seven years’ rigorous imprisonment.
This is the third conviction for the events that started with the burning of the Sabarmati Express in Godhra on February 27, 2002.
Special trial court judge Poonam Singh, who had pronounced conviction on Monday, handed down the sentence to the 23 people accused of murder and criminal conspiracy, while acquitting 23 others for want of evidence.
The court has, however, rejected the prosecutor’s demand for the death penalty to the 18 who got a life term.
“We had sought capital punishment, considering that the case relates to the mass killing of innocent women and children but the court has not accepted it,” special public prosecutor PN Parmar said after the pronouncement of the sentence at the district and sessions court in Anand, 67 km south-east of Ahmedabad.
Besides the sentence, the court also imposed a fine of R5,800 each on the 18 people sentenced to a life term and R3,800 on the other five.
Family members and relatives of the convicted reacted angrily to the judgment.
“On what basis have these people been sentenced? This is nothing but injustice because these 23 people have been framed out of a mob of more than 2,000 people,” said Chaitnya Patel, whose maternal uncle got life imprisonment.
But among the kin of the victims of the disturbances, there was palpable relief.
“What has happened has happened but now at least we have a sense of justice after the trial court’s verdict. We suffered badly without causing any harm to anyone. I lost seven members of my family,” said Mohmadkhan Akbarkhan Pathan, farmer.
Rashid Pathan, a member of the same family in Ode, said, “With the court’s verdict, we will move on with life.”