SIT convicted two of the accused guilty in Godhra Kand

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NP NEWS NETWORK

New Delhi

After 18 years of Godhra Kand, a verdict was given by Special SIT Court against five persons arrested in 2015-16 found guilty with the connection of 2002 Ghodhra train carnage on Monday. The special court convicted two of the accused, acquitted three others in the 2002 Sabarmati Express train burning case which led to massive communal riots in Gujarat.

Farukh Bhana and Imran aka Sheru Batik were convicted for conspiracy while Kasam Bhamedi, Hussain Suleman Mohan, and Faruk Dhantiya were acquitted by the special court.

The verdict marked an important milestone in the case, which was seen several twists and turns over 18 years. The court’s judgment had come just months ahead of the elections in Gujarat, and could well find an echo in political campaigns there.

Now again, the elections are near and after 18 years of Godhra train burn case, the verdict has been given by the Special Court.

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During the 2015-16, five accused were arrested for their connection with communal riots of Godhra. Judge H. C. Vora had given a verdict on these five convicts at the Special court of SIT. The five accused were absconding since 2002 and were arrested in 2015-16.

The Supreme Court handed the investigation to SIT in 2008. 94 people were put on trial without any arrests. Out of these, 31 were convicted and 63 others were acquitted. 11 were handed the death penalty while 20 were given life imprisonment.

Here is all you need to know about 2002 Godhra train burning case:

On the morning of February 27, 2002, a coach of the Sabarmati Express (Coach S6) was set on fire and 59 passengers traveling in that coach were sear to death. The train had arrived at Godhra station in Gujarat just then. The victims included 27 women and 10 children. Another 48 passengers traveling in the train were terribly injured.

A Commission of Inquiry was constituted by the Gujarat government headed by the Chief Minister Narendra Modi. The Commission consisted of Justice G T Nanavati and Justice KG Shah. The Commission in its report submitted that most of the 59 people who were killed, were kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.

The Sabarmati Express had begun its journey from Muzaffarpur and was on its way to Ahmedabad. At least 2,000 kar sevaks, who had gone to attend the Purnahuti Maha Yagna at the instance of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, had boarded the train from Ayodhya. The yagna was part of Ram Temple building programme.

The Train Burning Incident Led the State towards Violent Riots which Continued for 2-3 Months

The train burning incident had triggered violent riots within hours across the state. The riots broke out on the evening of February 2 and continued for 2-3 months across the state. The Centre in 2005 informed Rajya Sabha that the riots claimed the lives of 254 Hindus and 790 Muslims. A total of 223 people were reported missing. The details were later published at the recommendation of the National Human Rights Commission.

The Congress-led UPA government set up a separate inquiry commission headed by Justice UC Banerjee, who in March 2006, called the incident to be an accident in his report submitted. The Supreme Court rejected the report as unconstitutional and invalid. Afterward, the Supreme Court constituted a Special Investigation Team. Justice KG Shah died in March 2008 before the commission could complete its inquiry. His position was taken over by Justice Akshay H Mehta. Justice Nanavati and Justice Akshay Mehta submitted the final report of the Nanavati-Shah Commission that same year describing the train burning as a conspiracy.

Trials Started after Eight Years of the Incident

Trials in the case started over eight years after the incident on June 1, 2009. A special SIT court convicted 31 people on March 1, 2011, out of whom 11 were awarded death sentences and 20 life imprisonment. The court also acquitted 63 people in the case. The SIT court concurred with the charges of the prosecution that this was not an incident of unplanned mob outrage and rather it involved a conspiracy. The 31 convicts were convicted under the Indian Penal Code sections related to criminal conspiracy, murder and attempt to murder.

The Gujarat government later raised questions on the acquittals, a series of appeals were filed in the Gujarat High Court challenging the convictions.

The 63 people acquitted at that time also include the prime accused in the case Maulana Umarji, Mohammad Hussain Kalota, Mohammad Ansari and Nanumiya Chaudhary.

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