Gujarat HC shocker; Court reduces punishment on Godhra train burning

Ahmedabad – The Gujarat High Court, on Monday, commuted death sentence of 11 convicts to life imprisonment in the Godhra train carnage case of 2002.

With this judgment, the main accused in the case Maulana Umarji also stands acquitted.

The Gujarat High Court pronounced its verdict in the case in which 59 pilgrims returning from Ayodhya were charred to death when a mob attacked the train and torched the S6 coach on 26 February, 2002.

The verdict was pronounced on a set of appeals — whose hearings were completed more than two years ago — that were filed challenging the conviction and acquittals in the case.

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This February 27, 2002 photo shows the burning S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express in Godhra.
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The High Court division bench of Justice A,S. Dave and Justice G.R. Udhwani had completed the hearing of various appeals filed by those convicted by the trial court and also the Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) challenging acquittals of 63 accused, including the main accused Maulana Umarji.

In 2011, the trial court had found 31 people guilty of the barbaric incident and awarded death sentence to 11 persons while remaining 20 were sentenced to life imprisonment. The court, however, had acquitted 63 others.

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