A special designated court on Friday awarded life imprisonment to 11 persons convicted for murder in Gulberg Society massacre.
Twelve other convicted were given seven years imprisonment and one was given 10 years jail. While the Special Investigating Team (SIT) had demanded death sentence, the victims of the massacre had appealed against death.
Gulberg was one of the worst-affected Muslim localities in Ahmedabad during the post-Godhra riots where 69 people including ex Congress MP Ahsan Jafri were killed on February 28, 2002. The court said the incident was “unfortunate” and a “darkest phase in civil society”.
On June 2, special judge P B Desai had partially allowed the prosecution’s case while holding 24, out of a total of 60 accused, guilty. The court had convicted 11 of them for murder while 13 others were found guilty of lesser crime.
The 11 were found guilty of murder, unlawful assembly, loot and arson among other offences, while 12 were convicted for unlawful assembly, arson and loot. One accused was convicted for attempt to murder, unlawful assembly and other charges.
Out of the 66 accused, six had died during the trial.
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While pronouncing the quantum of sentence, the court said the sentence should run concurrently and not consecutively.
The court said that the power of remission of the sentence lies in the hands of legislation. However it also said the government is advised not to remit the sentence.
Among those who have been awarded life sentences are Kailash Lalchand Dhobi, who had jumped bail and surrendered a few days before the sentencing, Yogendrasinh alias Lalo Mohansinh Shekhawat, Jayeshkumar alias Gabbar Madanlal Jinger, Krishna Kumar alias Krishna, Jayesh Ramji Parmar, Raju alias Mamo Ramavatar Tiwari, Naran Sitaram Tank alias Naran Channelwalo, Lakhansinh alias Lakhiyo Lalubha Chudasama, Bharat alias Bharat Taili Shitalaprasad, Bharat Laxmansinh Goud Rajput and Dinesh Prabhudas Sharma.
The incident had taken place a day after S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was burnt near Godhra station on February 27, 2002, during which 58 Karsevaks were killed. It is one of the nine cases of the 2002 Gujarat riots probed by the Supreme Court-appointed SIT.