Gulbarg Society massacre: Quantum of sentence likely today

Ahmedabad(PTI): A special SIT court, which convicted 24 accused in the 2002 post-Godhra Gulbarg society massacre case, is expected to pronounce the quantum of sentence on Monday.

The prosecution is likely to seek capital punishment for the 11 convicted who were charged with murder, while the lawyer of victims may seek life imprisonment for them.

On June 2, Special Court Judge P.B. Desai convicted 24 of the 66 accused, including a VHP leader, in the Gulbarg society massacre, which left 69 people including former Congress MP Eshan Jafri dead.

Out of the total 66 accused, six had died during the trial. Of the 24 convicted, 11 have been charged with murder, while 13 others, including VHP leader Atul Vaidya, have been convicted for lesser offences.

While pronouncing the judgment, the court had said there was no evidence of criminal conspiracy in the case and dropped charges under section 120-B of the IPC.

Those acquitted include sitting BJP corporator Bipin Patel, the then police inspector of the area under which the Gulbarg Society was located, K G Erda, and former Congress corporator Meghsinh Chaudhari.

The Gulbarg Society case shook the nation when a mob set about attacking the society in the heart of Ahmedabad and killed the residents, including Jafri.

The Gulbarg Society massacre took place on 28 February 2002, during the 2002 Gujarat riots, when a Hindu mob attacked the Gulbarg Society, a Muslim neighbourhood in Chamanpura, Ahmedabad. Most of the houses were burnt, and at least 35 victims including a former Congress Member of Parliament Ehsan Jafri, were burnt alive, while 31 others went missing after the incident, later presumed dead, bringing the total deaths to 69. The Society, with most of the houses damaged or burnt, was later abandoned. Of the eighteen houses which were burnt, only one has been repaired. Although none of the families returned, some of them congregate each year on the anniversary of the event and offer prayers