Godhra train burning case: Court commutes death sentence for 11 to life

Godhra train burning case: Court commutes death sentence for 11 to life

Godhra train burning case: Court commutes death sentence for 11 to life

The Gujarat High Court on Monday partly reversed the judgment of the lower court by sentencing life imprisonment to 11 death penalty convicts of the 2002 Sabarmati Express carnage happened at Godhra Railway Station on February 27, 2002. The trial court sentenced 11 persons to death and 20 others to life imprisonment, while acquitting 63 others.

All the 31 were convicted under various sections of the Indian Penal Code related to murder, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy.

However, it upheld all the convictions and refused to acquit anyone who had been held guilty by a special court in 2011. The hearing in the case went on for 29 months and the media was kept out of the courtroom throughout the hearing.

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Maya Kodnani, the women and child welfare minister in the then Modi government in Gujarat, was sentenced to life in prison for a separate case of rioting in Ahmedabad's Naroda Patiya area, a verdict she has challenged.

Later, several appeals were filed in the high court challenging the convictions, while the Gujarat government questioned the acquittal of the 63 people. Within hours, deadly riots had broken across the western state that raged on for days and killed more than 1,000 people.

Twenty other convicts will remain sentenced to life in jail, the high court court ruled. They poured petrol inside the coach and set it on fire.

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The police investigation revealed that Aman Guest house owner Abdul Razak Kurkur had arranged 60-litre patrol a day before the incident.

In wake of the tragedy, the Gujarat government appointed the Nanavati Commission to investigate the incident. The Commission had concluded that fire in S6 coach of Sabarmati Express was not an accident, but it was torched charring passengers to death.

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