The Gujarat High Court has decided a set of appeals challenging convictions and acquittals in the case of the burning of the Sabarmati Express in Godhra in 2002, which triggered massive communal riots across the state of Gujarat in which more than 1,000 people were killed. While 11 people were sentenced to death, 20 were given life in jail. The court also upheld life term of 20 others and observed that the state had failed to maintain law and order and asked it to pay Rs 10 lakh as compensation to the victims of kin. Out of them 63 were acquitted by the court.
The HC on Monday dismissed the state government's appeal.
The judgement will be delivered by a bench of justice Anant Dave and justice GR Udhwani at about 11am.
The Muslims who were tried have always denied setting the train ablaze on February 27, 2002. The horrific train burning incident happened at Godhra Railway Station when Ahmedabad bound Sabarmati Express train coming from Ayodhya was attacked by a mob at Godhra Railway Station. FIR statement recorded of a Hindu tea vendors stated that a group of Muslims from Singal falia had set the S6 coach afire.
A damning report of Mohinder Singh Dahiya, the then assistant director of Gandhinagar's Forensic Studies Laboratory (FSL), concluded that the coach was set afire by someone "standing in the passage of the compartment near seat number 72, using a container with a wide opening about 60 litres of inflammable liquid has been poured and then a fire has been started in the bogie". Injuries were suffered by another 48 passengers in the train.
He had hatched the conspiracy to attack the Sabarmati Express train at his guest house along with Bilal Hussain Kalota.
The probe said that on the morning of February 27, he had appealed people from minority community using the mosque loud speaker to gather and rush to railway station.
November 2003: The Supreme Court puts a stay on the trial till POTA issue is resolved.
February 2011: The first part of judgment of conviction is announced on February 22 and quantum of punishment on February 25.