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Godhra train carnage: Gujarat High Court commutes death sentence to 11 into life imprisonment

At least 59 people had lost their lives when the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was torched at the Godhra Railway Station on February 27, 2002.
Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Monday altered a lower court verdict in the 2002 Godhra train carnage case. The HC commuted the death penalty awarded to 11 convicts to life imprisonment.
At least 59 people had lost their lives when the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was torched at the Godhra Railway Station on February 27, 2002.
The burning of the train had triggered widespread riots in Gujarat in which over 1,000 people were killed.
A lower court had convicted 31 people and acquitted 63 others in connection with the case. A special court was set up in Sabarmati jail.
The Nanavati Commission, which was constituted by the Gujarat government, had concluded that S-6 bogie of Sabarmati Express was set ablaze.
While delivering its order, the Gujarat HC upheld the trial court judgment sentencing 20 people to life in prison.
In February 2011, a special court had convicted 31 persons for the train burning incident. Out of the 31, eleven were awarded death penalty, while 20 were given life term.
Maulvi Saeed Umarji, believed to be the prime conspirator of the Godhra train burning case by the SIT, was also acquitted by the special court. The verdict was challenged by the state government and the convicts before the Gujarat High Court on April 6, 2011.
n February 25, 1,700 people, a mix of pilgrims including karsevaks had boarded the Sabarmati Express which was bound for Ahmedabad.
On February 27, the train, which was about four hours late, made a stop at Godhra. As the train started leaving the station, someone pulled the chains just outside the railway station.
The driver of the train later stated that the chains had been pulled multiple times in an attempt to stop the train.
After the train was stopped, a mob of around 2,000 people, carrying weapons and petrol attacked the train. After stone-pelting, they locked the doors of the S6 coach from outside, poured petrol inside and set it on fire.
The police investigation revealed that Aman Guest house owner Abdul Razak Kurkur had arranged 60-litre patrol a day before the incident.

 

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