No noose but lifer to 11 in Godhra train carnage: HC

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 10 Oct 2017 08:32:37


By R K Misra,


Upholds life sentence of 20 others and acquittal of 63 people by trial court

Court orders Government to pay Rs 10 lakh compensation to the kin of the victims

Lawyer for the victims says, he will approach the Supreme Court

THE Gujarat High Court on Monday upheld the conviction of 11 persons in the Sabarmati Express bogie burning case but commuted their death sentence to life sentence even as it directed payment of Rs 10 lakh as compensation to next of kin of each of the 59 who perished in it.

A division bench of justices Anant S.Dave and G.R.Udhwani also upheld the life sentence of 20 others who had been convicted and maintained the acquittal of 63 people by the trial court. Thus, the 11 accused, who were earlier awarded death sentence, will now serve life sentence.
Fifty-nine passengers travelling by coach S-6 of the Sabarmati Express were burnt alive near the Godhra railway station when it was incendiarised on February 27, 2002 triggering state-wide communal riots which left over 1,000 people dead.

The special court trying the Godhra train carnage case had in it’s judgement on March 1, 2011 awarded the death penalty to 11 of the 31 convicted in the case in which 84 people had been accused. Interestingly, Maulana Umarji, who was being projected as the prime accused was acquitted by the trial court.

A total of 130 persons were accused of which 94 stood trial on charges of murder and conspiracy. Of these 63 were acquitted by the trial court. The judgement was challenged in the Gujarat High Court which heard the petition but had reserved it’s order for an extended period of time.

The Court regretted the delay in its judgement. The eleven whose death sentence stands commuted to life imprisonment are Abdul Majid Sujela alias Bilal Haji, Jabir Binyamin Behra, Yusuf Sattar Siraj Mohammed Abdul Meda alias Bala, Yusuf Hasan alias Latiko Salim, alias Salman Zarda, Bilal Ismail Mohammed Kurkur, Ramjani Binyamin Behra, Hasan Ahmed Charka alias Lalu, Mehboob Khalid Chanda, Irfan Abdul Majid Ghanchi Kalandar alias Irfan Bhopo, Abdul Razzak Irfan Mohammed Hanif Abdul Gani Pataliya and Menbub Ahmed.