Mehsana: The special fast-track court
here is likely to pronounce verdict in the 2002 Sardarpura
riot case, where 33 persons were burnt to death during the
communal violence that broke out after Godhra train burning
Designated Judge SC Srivastava hearing the case would
be delivering the verdict on the fate of 73 accused who have
been charged for murder, attempt to murder, arson, rioting,
criminal conspiracy among others.
This would be the first post-Godhra riot case, probed
by Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT),
on which verdict would be pronounced.
According to case details, a mob had torched a house
of one Ibrahim Sheikh of Sardarpura village in Vijapur taluka
where number of persons had taken shelter after riots broke
out in the village on night of February 28,2002.
Thirty three persons including 20 women were charred
to death inside the house.
In all 76 accused were arrested out of whom two died
during the pendency of trial, while one was juvenile, against
whom trial was on in juvenile court.
The court had framed charges against 73 accused in
June 2009 and initiated trial in the case.
The prosecution alleged that the attack on minority
community was pre-planned and the conspiracy was hatched by
some local leader after the Godhra train burning incident.
It had further submitted that weapons were distributed
by the accused in the run-up to the incident.
The accused had claimed that they were being falsely
implicated and the violence was perpetrated by people who had
come from outside.
Advocate representing the riot victims Y B Sheikh has
submitted that over 80 witnesses who were also victims of the
violence, had named the accused while giving statement to the
police and and also correctly identified the accused in court
In all 112 witnesses were examined out of the 157
named in the chargesheet during trial including 20 doctors, 17
inquest witnesses, 40 riot victims, 20 police and 15 others.