Verdict on 2002 Sardarpur riot case likely tomorro



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 incident.

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 during trial.

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.

PTI