Ahmedabad, Oct 7: The Gujarat High Court will pronounce its verdict in the 2002 Godhra train burning case on Monday, October 9. On February 27, 2002, 59 people including 27 women and 10 children were charred to death inside the Sabarmati Express train at the Godhra railway station in Gujarat. The victims included pilgrims who were coming back from Ayodhya.
In the year 2011, a special court had convicted 31 accused and acquitted 63 others, saying the incident was a planned conspiracy. The accused were convicted under the murder and conspiracy provisions of Sections 302 and 120B of the IPC respectively and some sections of the Railway Act and Police Act.
Out of the 31 accused, 11 were given the death penalty, while the rest were awarded life imprisonment. 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.
While the state government appealed for a confirmation, the convicts appealed quashing of their death sentences. Following which, it was listed before the division bench of justice AS Dave and justice GR Udhwani.
The submission began in March 2014 and was argued for over a year. In May 2015, the division bench reserved the order after hearing all the cases.
On 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 stormed attacked the train. After stone-pelting, they locked the doors of the S6 coach from outside, poured petrol inside and set it on fire.
59 people including 27 women and 10 children died in the Godhra burning case. The police investigation revealed that Aman Guest house owner Abdul Razak Kurkur had arranged 60-litre patrol a day before the incident.