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Godhra Train Burning Case: Gujarat HC Orders Compensation for Victims' Kin; Death Sentence of 11 Convicts Commuted

Coach S-6 of the Sabarmati Express, in which 59 people, mostly 'kar sevaks' returning from Ayodhya were travelling, was burnt on February 27, 2002 at the Godhra station, triggering riots in the state.

News18.com

Updated:October 9, 2017, 3:59 PM IST
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Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Monday commuted the death sentence of 11 convicts in the Godhra train burning case to life imprisonment and ordered the state government to pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the families of those who died in the tragedy. The court upheld the life sentence of 20 other convicts.

A bench of Justices AS Dave and Justice GR Udhwani also observed that the state government had failed to maintain law and order, directing the compensation to be paid within six weeks.

“We have gone through the entire evidence…. We have basically relied on passengers, injured victims, railway employees, forensic evidence, statements of witnesses…. We have also considered the question of compensation which was not considered by the trial court,” Justice Dave said.

Coach S-6 of the Sabarmati Express, in which 59 people, mostly 'kar sevaks' returning from Ayodhya were travelling, was burnt on February 27, 2002 at the Godhra station, triggering riots in the state.

An SIT court had on March 1, 2011 convicted 31 people and acquitted 63 in the case. While 11 people were sentenced to death, 20 were given life in jail. Later, several appeals were filed in the High Court challenging the conviction, while the state government had questioned the acquittal of 63 people.

The court had convicted 31 people while accepting the prosecution's contention that there was a conspiracy behind the incident.

All the 31 were convicted under IPC sections related to murder, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy. Those acquitted included the prime accused, Maulana Umarji, the then president of Godhra Municipality Mohammad Hussain Kalota, Mohammad Ansari and Nanumiya Chaudhary of Gangapur, Uttar Pradesh.

The Nanavati Commission, appointed by the Gujarat government to probe the carnage, had concluded that the fire in the S-6 coach was not an accident, but it was set ablaze.

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