Ahmedabad: The Gujarat government Tuesday
welcomed the court verdict in the 2002 Godhra train burning
incident for which 11 people were given capital punishment and
20 life imprisonment.
"We respect and welcome the court`s verdict in the
Godhra case," government spokesperson Jaynarayan Vyas said.
He declined to comment anything further, saying he has
not read the full judgement.
On February 22, Special Judge PR Patel, upholding the
conspiracy theory, had convicted 31 accused. However, the
court had acquitted 63 others, including key accused Maulana
Hussain Umarji, for lack of evidence. The quantum of
punishment was pronounced today.
The judgement and subsequent sentencing evoked a mixed
reaction among other quarters.
VHP said the verdict has disappointed the victims of
the Godhra train carnage who were expecting death rap for all
VHP`s Gujarat secretary Kaushik Mehta said they have
asked the government to appeal against the acquittal of 63
accused and seek death penalty for 20 convicts who have been
given life sentence.
Father Cedric Prakash, director of NGO Prashant who
has been working for the post-Godhra riot victims, said the
court judgement was "outrageous and shocking".
"The judgement spoke about a criminal conspiracy.
However, there is practically no evidence to substantiate this
theory," Prakash said in a statement.
"Besides, the so-called `key conspirator` was among
the 63 acquitted, and this adds to the hollowness of the
`conspiracy`. The verdict and sentences are undeniably a
travesty of justice," Prakash said.