• Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Justice for Gujarat riot victims, finally

Discussion in 'World Affairs' started by roach, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. roach

    roach FULL MEMBER

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    The Hindustan times, today:

    Looks like we might be getting somewhere with closing this sordid chapter.

    Verdict after 10 years: 23 guilty in Ode massacre case - Hindustan Times

    A sessions court in Gujarat on Monday convicted 23 people and acquitted as many others for want of evidence in connection with the Ode village massacre in 2002 post-Godhra riots. The verdict was delivered by the district and sessions court Judge Poonam Singh. The court will pronounce the quantum of sentence later.

    The riot case was probed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the Supreme Court.

    Twenty three people, including women and children of the minority community, were burnt to death in a house in Pirwali Bhagol area of Ode village on March one, 2002, following the Godhra train burning incident.

    In total, there were 47 accused in the case, however, one of them had died during the course of trial.

    Special public prosecutor PN Parmar said more than 150 witnesses have been examined, while over 170 documentary evidences have been placed before the court.

    The trial began in the end of 2009 and was on the verge of completion when the then judge hearing the case resigned in May 2011 citing personal reasons.

    Following this, Judge Singh was appointed and all the arguments were made afresh before her.

    Parmar further said that the SIT was probing three cases regarding Ode.

    Assistant special public prosecutor in the case was Shailendra Ghadia, while advocates Irshad Mansuri and Nasir Sheikh represented the riot victims. The defence team was headed by advocate CK Patel.

    Out of the nine cases probed by the SIT, judgements have been pronounced in two cases, including the Godhra train burning incident where 11 people were awarded death sentence and 20 life imprisonment.

    The second case was that of Sardarpura village in Mehsana district where 31 persons were awarded life term and 42 others were acquitted.

    Ode village massacre
    The gruesome massacre was one amongst the nine post-Godhra massacre cases investigated by the Special Investigation Team appointed by the Supreme Court.

    On March 1, 2002, a few days after the Sabarmati Express burning in Godhra in which 59 Hindus, mostly kar sevaks were killed, a rioting mob consisting around 2000 people targeted 20 odd homes of Muslims in Ode village.

    There are, in all, 47 accused, all of whom are out on bail. They facing charges of criminal conspiracy, murder, rioting, attempt to murder, unlawful assembly and destruction of evidence. Of 47 accused, one person died during the trial so verdict will be pronounced on remaining 46.

    Two other accused have fled abroad and are not traceable so the SIT had got a red corner notice issued against one Hirubhai Patel, one of the two persons.

    Majid Miyan, a native of Ode village, lost 13 members of his extended family including his mother. His cousing Shafiq Mohammed lost his wife and two children in the attack.

    In the last ten years, Majid and Shafiq have rarely returned to their burnt out homes. They shifted to safer places in Anand district.

    The pain of having lost their loved ones still lingers in their mind. Rafiq Bhai, the main complainant in this case, lives barely 10 km away from the village, but has never returned.

    He still stays in a migrant township created by a relief committee near Anand. Though he and his family escaped the wrath of the mob, he lost both his house and business in the attack.

    The trial began in November 2009, which saw 158 witnesses being examined out of which 35 turned hostile.