Updated: June 2, 2016 3:21:08 pm
Expressing discontent at the special court verdict in the Gulberg Society case, Zakia Jafri, widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who was killed in the massacre, said that her fight wasn’t over as yet.
A special SIT court in Ahmedabad on Thursday convicted 24, including a VHP leader, in the 2002 post-Godhra Gulberg society massacre, which left 69 people including the former Congress MP dead. Thirty six others were acquitted.
Among those acquitted by special court Judge PB Desai was sitting BJP corporator Bipin Patel. The judge also dropped the conspiracy charge (120 B) against all the accused, saying there was no evidence of criminal conspiracy in the case.
Dismissing the verdict, Zakia said that she will appeal in higher courts. “This verdict is half justice to me,” she told Associated Press.
Of the 24 convicted on Thursday, 11 have been charged with murder, while 13 others have been convicted for lesser offences.
The quantum of sentence for those convicted in the case will be delivered on June 6.
The Supreme Court, which has been monitoring the case, had directed the SIT court to give its verdict by May 31.
Of the 66 accused, named by the SIT in the case, nine are already behind bars, while others are out on bail.
During the trial, the lawyer for the riots victims had argued that the massacre was a pre-planned criminal conspiracy hatched by the accused to kill minority community members residing in Gulberg Society.
The defence had refuted the conspiracy theory and claimed that the mob resorted to violence only after slain Congress MP Eshan Jafri fired several rounds at them.
The Gulberg Society massacre took place on February 28, 2002, during the 2002 Gujarat riots, when a mob attacked Gulberg Society, a lower middle-class Muslim neighbourhood in Chamanpura, Ahmedabad, a day after a coach of Sabarmati Express was burnt near Godhra railway station.
The Gulberg Society case is one of the nine cases of the 2002 Gujarat riots being probed by the Supreme Court-appointed SIT.
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