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Gujarat riots case: 12 sentenced to life imprisonment

November 25, 2003 18:48 IST
Last Updated: November 25, 2003 23:47 IST

In the first conviction in a post-Godhra communal riots case in Gujarat, a court on Tuesday sentenced 12 people to life imprisonment and awarded two years' rigorous imprisonment to three others for the killing of 14 Muslims in Ghodasar village in Kheda district on March 3, 2002.

Announcing the sentence in a packed court, Nadiad Sessions Judge C K Rane also granted bail to the three persons awarded rigorous imprisonment.

This is the second post-Godhra communal riots case in which a judgment was passed, the first being the Best Bakery case.

The sessions court had on Monday convicted 15 people and acquitted 48 out of the 63 accused.

The prosecution led by Paresh Dhora had sought capital punishment and said, "This was a rarest of rare case and the accused persons should not be pardoned."

The 14 Muslims had been slaughtered in an open field while fleeing an armed mob that was chasing them following rumours that members of the minority community had killed three persons of the majority community.

The sensational case is not among the 10 riot cases the trials of which were stayed by the Supreme Court. However, it was a case in which the judgment was eagerly awaited as the matter was adjourned several times.

The highlight of the case and its crucial trial was that none of the 46 witnesses, including two eyewitnesses had turned hostile, like in the Best Bakery case.

Defence counsel T R Vajpayee told PTI that they would definitely challenge the conviction before the high court.

Police had arrested 64 persons in connection with the massacre of which one died in judicial custody while the case was in progress.

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