After 14 years, the culprits of the Gulbarg society massacre have been awarded punishment by a special SIT court but victims have voiced their disappointment.
Eleven convicts have been sentenced to life imprisonment in the case of burning alive of 69 people, including former Congress MP Eshan Jafri in the 2002 post-Godhra violence. The court awarded ten year jail term to one of the 13 convicted for lesser offences while 12 others have been given seven-year sentence each.
However, victims say the sentence should have been harsher. Zakia Jafri, the wife of slain Congress leader Ehsan Jafri, said life sentence should have been awarded to all the convicts.
"The fight is not over. I want justice. We will appeal in a higher court. Life sentence should have been awarded to all the accused and not some of them," she said.
Recalling the massacre, she said she still can't forget the memories of the day. "I have seen it all with my eyes, heard it. My own condition was so bad. They took the cylinders in my house and set them on fire. They broke down the walls with cylinders. There were dead bodies in my house," she added.
Though her son Tanvir Jafri said there was definitely "some sense of closure" at the convictions. "We all know, the massacre was one of the harshest things that happened to the victims. The message should go to the nation that this country, the legal system, will not tolerate such things. We will definitely contest in the High Court some of the acquittals," he said.
Activist Teesta Setalvad, who is one of the activists who has championed the cause of the victims since the incident said, "We are disappointed with the sentence. We had sought life term for all the 24 convicted. We will appeal against the sentence in a higher court. There is no reason for a lesser punishment for any of them."
The verdict also sparked a war of words between BJP and Congress, with both the parties accusing each other of trying to turn the issue into a tool for their own political advantage.
"Those who played into hands of some political leaders are now behind bars while those who incited them for their political gains have subsequently acquired power. Those who became a tool of such leaders, who always believed in polarisation, will have to spend their lives in jail," Gujarat Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said.
On the other side, Gujarat BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya rubbished the allegations of Congress and maintained that there was no conspiracy behind the massacre.
"We welcome the judgement by the court. Earlier, the court had refused to accept that there was conspiracy behind the crime. Congress as well as people like Teesta tried hard to prove that it was conspiracy, so that it can be used against BJP. But, court had ruled against their wishes," said Pandya.