A division bench of the Gujarat High Court on Friday acquitted three and confirmed the sentence handed by a special trial court to 19 others in the Ode massacre case of 2002 post-Godhra riots. The court also confirmed the acquittal of 23 of the 47 accused.
In 2012, a special trial court had held 23 accused guilty and out of them, 18 were convicted for life imprisonment while the remaining five had been sentenced to seven years. The division bench of Justices Akil Kureshi and B N Karia had concluded the hearing and reserved the judgment last month.
Following the lower court’s decision, the convicts moved the High Court challenging the judgment. The SIT also moved the court, challenging the acquittals in the case and demanding enhancement of sentences of five convicts who got seven years in jail. The SIT has also sought capital punishment for all the accused found guilty of murder.
On March 1, 2002, two days after the Godhra train carnage, 23 Muslims were burnt alive in the Ode massacre in Anand district of central Gujarat. It is one of the nine major riots cases which were handed over to the Supreme Court-appointed SIT for further investigation. The SIT court in 2012 held 23 out of 47 guilty, while one of the accused had died during pendency.