24 Guilty of Gulbarg Massacre, Sentencing on June 6

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Ahmedabad: Twenty-four people have been convicted while 36 others acquitted in the 2002 Gulbarg Society massacre case. Although no one has been convicted under the charges of conspiracy (IPC Section 120 B) but out of 24 convicts, 11 have been found guilty of murder (Section 302) and 13 have been convicted for lesser offences.

Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Atul Vaidya is among those convicted for the massacre in which former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri and 68 other persons were killed.

The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on June 6. Out of the 66 people initially accused in the case, six died during the long drawn trial.

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The Special Investigation Team court of PB Desai in Ahmedabad let off 36 of the 66 accused in the case for lack of evidence. Bharatiya Janata Party corporator Bipin Patel and police inspector KG Erda are among those acquitted.

Patel is a sitting corporator from Asarva seat. He was also corporator in 2002 when the massacre took place and won the election for fourth consecutive term in 2015.

The judgement was pronounced more than 14 years after the massacre in which 69 people were killed in Ahmedabad’s Gulbarg Society by a rioting mob. A total of 338 witnesses testified during the trial of the case, which ran for over six years.

The Gulbarg Society case is one of the nine cases of the 2002 Gujarat riots probed by the Supreme Court-appointed SIT. The incident had taken place on February 28, 2002, a day after S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express train was set on fire near Godhra railway station in which 58 ‘karsevaks’ from Ayodhya were killed.