Ahmedabad: Defence lawyers in the Gulberg massacre case have demanded minimum punishment for the convicts as a special sessions court on Thursday deferred its judgement on the quantum of punishment by another day.
Arguing their case, defence lawyers said that the witnesses in the case have not been able to recognize the convicts, and hence on that basis, minimum punishment should be given to them.
There is a total of eight witnesses in the case.
Stressing his point, a defence lawyer said that the prosecution will need to prove whether the accused would be a threat to the society when they step out of jail.
A special sessions court, which is hearing the case, was expected to pronounce the quantum of sentence today.
A total of 69 people were killed in the Gulberg Society massacre in the heart of Ahmedabad during the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Among those killed was a septuagenarian former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri.
Judge PB Desai in his verdict last week convicted 24 people, including Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Atul Vaidya but rejected the charge of conspiracy.
Also, 36 people, including ruling Bharatiya Janata Party municipal corporator Bipin Patel, were acquitted.
The prosecution has sought death sentence or jail term till death for all the convicts while the defence lawyers had contested it saying that the incident was spontaneous and there were enough provocations for it.
A mob of 400 people had attacked the Gulberg society during the riots, which were triggered after a coach of the Sabarmati Express were set on fire, killing 58 people, including 'karsevaks'.
The incident took place near the Godhra railway station on February 27, 2002.
It was one of the nine cases of the Gujarat riots probed by the Supreme Court-appointed SIT.