A special court today sentenced 11 convicts to death and gave lifers to 20 people in the 2002 Godhra train burning incident that killed 59 people and triggered large scale communal violence in Gujarat. Designated judge P R Patel hearing the case inside the Sabarmati Central Jail pronounced the quantum of punishment to those who were found guilty of criminal conspiracy and murder.
The prosecution had sought death sentence for all the 31 convicts saying that it was a heinous act.
While the defence lawyers had pleaded leniency for the accused and requested the court to take into consideration their role during the incident, and considering their past record, family circumstances and time spent in jail since their arrest.
The court has accepted the prosecution's contention that there was a conspiracy behind the incident and convicted 31 under various sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC) like 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and 120B(criminal conspiracy).
They have also been convicted under IPC section 147, 148 (rioting with deadly weapons), 323, 324,325,326 (causing hurt), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on religious grounds), various sections of the Indian Railways Act, Prevention of Damages to Public Property Act and Bombay Police Act.
The Court on February 22 had acquitted 63 others, in the burning of S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express in 2002 near Godhra railway station where 59 persons were killed.
Following the Godhra train burning incident on February 27, 2002, large scale communal violence had broken out in various parts of Gujarat in which over 1000 people died, mainly belonging to the minority community.PTI