A local court in Banaskantha district, north Gujarat on Friday acquitted all the 70 people accused in a riot case at Sesan Nava village of Deodar taluka in which 14 persons from minority community including women were killed in the aftermath of post Godhra riots.
The additional sessions judge VK Pujara acquitted all the accused while stating that the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond doubt. He said that following the unfortunate incident of burning of Sabarmati Express train at Godhra railway station a group of Hindus attacked the people from minority community. The court has said that there is no direct evidence suggesting the involvement of the accused persons.
According to defense lawyer BK Joshi who appeared for nine accused, there were 190 witnesses in the case and most of them turned hostile during the proceedings. He said that over the years nine persons died while eight persons were lodged in jail since 2002 following their arrest.
On March 3, 2002 a mob of around 5000 people had gheroed the Muslim locality of Sasan Nava village. The mob laced with sharp weapons went to killing and looting spree till the police arrived at the scene, more than a dozen persons had been killed, with dozens of houses set on fire. In the police firing two persons from the mob were killed killed.
Publice prosecutor BV Thakor said that 12 supplementary chargesheets had been filed during the investigation in which 190 witnesses gave their statements. However, most of them turn hostile and nobody named the accused and their role. The court didn’t appreciate the evidence that we had placed.