Godhra train carnage judgement on Tuesday

Last Updated: Monday, February 21, 2011 - 20:25

Ahmedabad: Nine years after torching of
the Sabarmati Express near Godhra station that left 58 people
dead, a Special Court here is set to deliver tomorrow its
judgement against 94 accused in the carnage that had triggered
widespread communal riots in Gujarat.

Designated Judge PR Patel, who had completed hearing
arguments of the prosecution and defence in September last
year, will pronounce the judgement in the sensitive case.

After completion of the hearing, the verdict could not
be delivered in view of a Supreme Court stay, which was lifted
on October 26, 2010.

The trial, conducted inside the Sabarmati Central Jail
here, began in June 2009 with the framing of charges against
94 accused, who are in the high-security prison since 2002.

The accused have been charged with criminal conspiracy
and murder in burning of the S-6 coach of the train on
February 27, 2002 near Godhra, about 125 km from here. Most of
the deceased were karsevaks returning from Ayodhya.

Following the incident, widespread communal riots
broke out in various parts of the state in which over 1,000
people, mostly from the minority community, were killed.

As many as 253 witnesses were examined during the
trial and over 1500 documentary evidences were presented
before the court by the Gujarat police.

Initially there were 107 accused, of which five died
during the pendency of the case, while eight others were
juveniles, who were tried by a separate court.

Police have made elaborate security arrangements to
maintain peace after judgement is pronounced.

The alleged prime conspirators in the case include
Maulvi Ummarji, Rajjab Kurkur, Nanumiya and Salim Yusuf Sattar
Jarda.

Salim Panwala, the prime accused in the case, is
absconding and is believed to be in Pakistan. Other accused
include Jabir Behra, who has made a confessional statement
under POTA, Mohmmad Latika and Hasan Lalu.

According to the prosecution, the accused hatched the
conspiracy to torch the train in a guest house in Godhra. They
decided to execute the plan near A Cabin as it was a minority
dominated area.

Prosecution had slapped Prevention of Terrorism Act
(POTA) against the accused, but it was later revoked by Pota
Review Committee.

The Nanavati Commission, appointed by the State
Government to probe the carnage, had in the first part of the
report concluded that the fire in the S6 coach was not an
accident, but it was caused by throwing petrol inside it.

"The burning of the coach S6 was a pre-planned act. In
other words there was a conspiracy to burn the coach of the
train coming from Ayodhya and to cause harm to the karsevaks
travelling in it," the report, submitted to the Government in
September 2008, said.

Meanwhile, police said vigil shall be intensified in
all the sensitive points in the city.

"Close to 10,000 police personnel, including those
from State Reserve Police Force and Rapid Action Force will be
deployed to maintain peace," a police officer said.

PTI



First Published: Monday, February 21, 2011 - 20:25

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