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Godhra case: 31 acquitted reach hometown after 8 years

Source: PTI
February 23, 2011 20:35 IST
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Sixty-three people, including the main accused Maulvi Hussain Umarji, acquitted in the 2002 Godhra train burning case, on Wednesday reached their hometown in Gujarat after spending almost eight years in prison.

A special court in Ahmedabad on Tuesday acquitted 63 people and convicted 31 in the February 27, 2002 incident, which left 59 people dead, mostly karsevaks. The incident triggered the worst ever communal riots in the country in which about 1200, mainly Muslims lost their lives.

Those acquitted were released from the high-security Sabarmati jail late on Tuesday night and taken to Godhra in two buses.

Umarji, who was released by the court for lack of evidence stayed away from media allegedly due to health reasons when reporters went to meet him. "He is taking rest as he has low blood pressure," his relatives said.

Umarji's son Saeed, however, expressed dissatisfaction on the delayed verdict and said, "Justice has been done late in case of my father. He had to spend eight important years of his life behind bars. If the police had conducted proper investigations and arrested the right persons then those who have been let off would not have had to suffer."

Other accused in the Godhra train carnage also refused to interact with the media, saying that they will be able to react only once the quantum of sentence is announced on February 25.

Advocate I M Munshi representing the acquitted persons said they will wait for full copy of the judgment which will be made available to them only after quantum of sentence is announced on Friday, before deciding final course of action. "We do not agree with the court upholding the conspiracy theory. We will wait for the copy of the judgement. We will study it and will decided on the future course of action," he said.

Special Judge P R Patel, hearing the Godhra train burning case found 31 people guilty in the case for criminal conspiracy and murder, while acquitting 63 others.

The court had upheld the theory of criminal conspiracy behind the burning of the S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express train near Godhra railway station killing karsevaks returning from Ayodhya.

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