Rioters intended to kill: Sardarpura verdict

A special court has said in the Sardarpura judgement that there was no conspiracy and the rioters had a clear intention of killing Muslims.

Ahmedabad: A special court, which sentenced
31 persons to life imprisonment in the 2002 Sardarpura riot
case, has said in the judgement that there was no conspiracy
and the rioters had a clear intention of killing Muslims to
take revenge for Godhra train burning.
Mehsana`s Principal District and Sessions Judge, S C
Srivastava, convicted 31 and acquitted 42 in her ruling
yesterday. Thirty-three persons were killed at Sardarpura
village in Mehsana district on March 1, 2002.

In the judgement, the judge has said the Special
Investigation Team (SIT) could not establish any criminal

"The main motive was to take revenge on Muslim community
as `Kar Sevaks` were burnt alive on Sabarmati train at Godhra
and this motive is proved from evidence...also, it is not
challenged," Srivastava observed.

She has rejected the accused`s defence that they did
not have the intention of killing the members of the minority
The court said burning the house, in which the victims
had taken shelter, was the easiest way of causing damage to
persons and creating more fear in the mind of minority

"It cannot be said that the object of the unlawful
assembly was not to take the lives of any persons,"

Members of the mob were clearly aware that several
persons were inside the house and yet the house was set on
fire, the judgement notes.

"The act of setting on fire the house in Shaikh Mohalla,
specially Mahemudmiya`s house, is indicative of the intention
or at least the knowledge necessary to constitute the offence
of murder."

The judgement rejected the defence that there was no
sufficient light/visibility for the witnesses to have a good
look at the accused.

"The incident had lasted for a long period, more than an
hour. There was sufficient opportunity for the witnesses to
see the offenders. More particularly, when the mob was from
the same locality," the court concluded.

As to the credibility of witnesses who identified the
accused at the trial but not at the time of giving statements
to the police in 2002, the court said the witnesses cannot be
discredited for delay in identification.

"There is nothing contradictory, incredible, improbable
or inconsistent in their evidence."

"Considering the whole evidence of the witnesses, all
have avoided attributing false overt acts to the accused
identified, which would have been quite easy for them," the
court notes.


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