'Can't Enter Gujarat, Have to Do Social Service': SC Grants Bail to 14 Gujarat Riots Convicts


New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted conditional bail to 14 convicts who were given life term in 2002 Sardarpura post-Godhra riots cases.

Barring them from entering Gujarat, the men have been directed to stay in Indore and Jabalpur and do social service. "They will be stationed in Indore and Jabalpur till their appeals are finally decided by the Supreme Court," the court said, adding that the condition also includes social service.

A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant divided the convicts in two groups and said one group would move out of Gujarat and stay at Indore in Madhya Pradesh. The other group of convicts will have to relocate themselves to Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, the bench said.

The court said that all the convicts will have to undertake community services for six hours a week besides reporting to the local police station on a weekly basis as bail conditions.

The Supreme Court has directed the District Legal Services Authorities at Indore and Jabalpur to ensure that the convicts observe bail conditions diligently. It has also directed DLSA to help the convicts in finding suitable employment for earning their livelihood.

It has directed the Madhya Pradesh State Legal Service Authority to file a report after three months stating as to whether the convicts have complied with the conditions or not. Earlier the Gujarat High Court had acquitted 14 and convicted 17 in the Sardarpura post-Godhra riots case.​

The incident dates back to 2002 when a mob of hundreds of people surrounded Sheikh Vaas lane in Sardarpura village where people of the minority community lived. The community members took shelter in the 'pucca' house of Ibrahim Sheikh, which the mob set on fire using petrol. A total of 33 people, including 22 women, were charred to death.

The violence came after the Godhra train carnage the previous day in which 59 people, mainly ‘karsevaks’ returning from Ayodhya, were killed.

In December last year, the Nanavati Commission had given a clean chit to the Narendra Modi-led government in the 2002 riots.

The first part of the report of the commission, formed to inquire into the cause of the Godhra train burning incident and subsequent communal riots, was tabled in the Assembly on September 25, 2009. The commission submitted its final report (containing part two) on November 18, 2014, to then chief minister Anandiben Patel, but it was withheld by the state government since then.

(With PTI inputs)