Gujarat High Court on Monday commuted death sentence to 11 convicts into life imprisonment in Godhra train burning case of 2002. The court, however, upheld the life sentence to 20 other convicts in the same case.
The court criticised the state government for failing to maintain law and order and directed it to pay Rs 10 lakh compensation each to families of victims, mostly kar sevaks.
The special SIT court had on 1 March, 2011 convicted 31 people and acquitted 63 in the case. While 11 people were sentenced to death, 20 were given life in jail.
Later, several appeals were filed in the High Court challenging the conviction, while the state government had questioned the acquittal of 63 people.
The court had convicted 31 people while accepting the prosecution’s contention that there was a conspiracy behind the incident.
All the 31 were convicted under IPC sections related to murder, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy.
Those acquitted included the prime accused, Maulana Umarji, the then president of Godhra Municipality Mohammad Hussain Kalota, Mohammad Ansari and Nanumiya Chaudhary of Gangapur, Uttar Pradesh.
The Nanavati Commission, appointed by the Gujarat government to probe the carnage, had concluded that the fire in the S-6 coach was not an accident, but it was set ablaze.