31 convicted in Godhra train burning case

Ahmedabad, Feb 22: A special court on Tuesday indicted 31 in the 2002 Godhra train burning case .

The judgement was pronounced by designated Judge P R Patel, who had completed hearing arguments of the prosecution and defence in September last year.

NDTV reports: The court pronounced judgment on the role of over 90 people accused of conspiring and burning the S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express on February 27, 2002.  Fifty-nine people, mostly Kar Sewaks returning from Ayodhya, were killed in the incident.
The verdict was pronounced at Ahmedabad's Sabarmati Central Jail, where the trial was held, on whether there was a pre-planned conspiracy behind the attack on the S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express or whether it was a spontaneous riot situation fuelled by an altercation between Kar Sevaks and Muslim vendors at Godhra station in Gujarat. 

IBN Live reports: Special Public Prosecutor JM Panchal said that the court upheld that the burning of the train was a pre-planned conspiracy. "The motive of the conspiracy was to set the train on fire," said Panchal. However, one of the main accused in the train burning case, Maulana Umarji, has been acquitted. For the families of those killed in the arson, the nine-year wait has been agonising.

Hindustan Times reported that many families of those killed on the train were living in poverty, and were angry with Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi for not doing enough to help them.

ANI said the Supreme Court had on October 26 last year vacated its stay in the 2002 Godhra communal riots case, thereby paving the way for the trial court to pronounce its verdict.

The apex court, however, said the trial court should not pronounce its verdict in the case relating to the killing of former Congress MP Ehsan Jaffrey in which the Special Investigation Team (SIT) has questioned Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Tuesday's verdict, which accepts the state contention that a conspiracy resulted in the burning of the train, overturns Tehelka magazine's report that it was a case of mob fury.

Earlier on April 27, 2010, the apex court had asked the SIT, headed by former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director RK Raghavan, to probe the role of 64 people, including that of Gujarat Chief Minister Modi in the post-Godhra riots cases. The court directive came in response to a petition filed by Zakia Jaffrey, whose husband Ehsan Jaffrey, ex-Congress MP, was killed during the Gulburg society riots along with 39 others. In her complaint Zakia Jaffrey alleged that Modi, his cabinet colleagues, police officials and senior bureaucrats aided and abetted the riots.

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