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Gujarat HC sentences 7 to life imprisonment in a post-Godhra riot case

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New Delhi: The Gujarat High Court on Monday sentenced seven persons to life imprisonment in a case related to the 2002 post-Godhra riots at Viramgam in the district where three people had been killed. The court also upheld the conviction by the trial court of two others for murder, and acquittal of Devabhai Samatbhai Bharwad, another accused.

The division bench of Justices Harsh Devani and Biren Vaishnav pronounced the quantum of sentence on Monday.

The seven who were sentenced to life are Satabhai alias Haider Gela Bharwad, Naranbhai Samantbhai Bharwad, Udaji Ranchhodbhai Thakor, Valabhai Gelabhai Bharwad, Viththal alias Kuchiyo Moti Bharwad, Mulabhai Gelabhai Bharwad and Merabhai Gelabhai Bharwad.

Last month the HC had convicted them under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and other sections of the IPC. The trial court in its order in 2011 had convicted four of them for lesser offences and acquitted three others.

Of the ten people accused in the case then, the trial court awarded life term to two, lesser punsihment to four and acquitted the other four.

On June 28, the HC convicted seven persons of murder and rejected the revision petition of two accused who were already given life sentence by the lower court. Of the four who were acquitted, the High Court upheld the acquittal of only Devabhai Bharwad. It found other three guilty of murder.

The case dates to February 28, 2002, a day after Godhra train fire incident. A mob of around 40 people had attacked a Muslim locality in Viramgam and tried to demolish a dargah. When Muslim residents tried to stop them, the mob attacked them, which resulted in the death of three persons.

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