New Delhi: Yakub Pataliya, one of the convicts in the 2002 Godhra carnage, has been sentenced to life imprisonment on Wednesday.

Three others were acquitted by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) court.

Pataliya, one of the most wanted accused in the 2002 Sabarmati Express burning, managed to evade police for 16 years and arrested only last year.  He was accused of being a part of the mob which allegedly torched the coaches of the train at Godhra railway station on February 27, 2002, killing 59 kar sevaks.

The incident led to riots across the state of Gujarat. Around 1,000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed in the subsequent riots.

In August 2018, the SIT court sentenced two other accused to life imprisonment while three others were acquitted by the court.

The case was investigated by a SIT and on March 1, 2011, a special court convicted 31 people and acquitted 63.

Reports say that 11 of the 31 convicts were given the death penalty while the remaining were given life imprisonment. All the 31 were convicted under IPC sections related to murder, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy.

Meanwhile, the convictions, as well as the acquittals, were challenged in the Gujarat High Court. In 2017, the High Court commuted the death sentence awarded to 11 persons to life imprisonment.

Only last month, almost 17 years after the incident, the Gujarat government announced compensation of Rs five lakh each for the families of 52 victims.

In an official release, the state government said the decision had been taken as per the Gujarat High Court order of 2017. The compensation will be paid from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.

In all, 59 people were charred to death in the incident but seven of them remained unidentified till date, a cumulative compensation of Rs 260 lakh would be paid to the kin of the remaining 52 victims, the release said.