11 sen­tenced to life term for Gulberg mas­sacre

12 oth­ers get seven years in jail and one a 10-year sen­tence

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Agen­cies ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com

AHMED­ABAD: A spe­cial court on Fri­day sen­tenced 11 peo­ple to life im­pris­on­ment for the mur­der of 69 peo­ple dur­ing the 2002 Gu­jarat ri­ots, terming the Gulberg So­ci­ety mas­sacre as the “dark­est day in the his­tory of civil so­ci­ety”.

The court sen­tenced 12 other peo­ple to seven years in jail for ar­son and ri­ot­ing while an­other was handed a 10-year sen­tence for the in­ci­dent in Ahmed­abad when com­mu­nal ri­ots swept through Gu­jarat af­ter 59 Hindu ac­tivists were killed in the burn­ing of a train in Godhra.

Jus­tice PB De­sai, how­ever, ac­quit­ted 36 peo­ple in­clud­ing the al­leged main con­spir­a­tor and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coun­cil­lor Bipin Pa­tel and re­jected pros­e­cu­tors’ claims that the at­tack on the pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim res­i­den­tial area was planned.

Among those killed in the Gulberg in­ci­dent — con­sid­ered one of the worst sin­gle mas­sacres dur­ing the post-Godhra blood­shed — was for­mer Congress par­lia­men­tar­ian Eh­san Jafri be­sides women and chil­dren, most of whom were burnt to death.

Jafri’s wife Zakia said she was un­happy with the quan­tum of sen­tence and would chal­lenge the or­der in a higher court.

“Af­ter so many peo­ple died, that’s all the court could de­cide? Just 11 guilty? I will have to fight this,” Jafri said.

The judge re­fused death penalty say­ing, “If you look at all as­pects, no pre­vi­ous an­tecedent has been placed on record.”

CON­TIN­UED ON P11

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