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Gulberg Society Massacre: Quantum of sentence announced, 11 get life in jail

Gulberg massacre

New Delhi: Eleven people, convicted for murder in the Gulberg Society massacre during the 2002 Gujarat riots, have been handed out life sentences by the special SIT court in Ahmedabad.

The court said the incident was unfortunate and marked the ‘darkest phase in civil society.’

Judge P.B. Desai had convicted 11 persons of offences, including murder, while 13 others were charged with lesser offences. The court had acquitted 36 others.

LIVE updates

11.24 am: Special court remarks that the incident was unfortunate and darkest phase in civil society.

11.25 am: Court held that the sentence should run concurrently nor consecutively.

11.23 am: 12 convicted for lesser offence awarded seven years jail, 1 convict gets ten years jail

11.22 am: 11 convicted for murder awarded life imprisonment.

10.40 am: Security at court where sentencing of 24 convicts to be pronounced soon.

A special SIT court pronounced the quantum of sentence for 24 convicts in the Gulberg Society massacre in which 69 people, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, were killed.

Earlier on June 2, the court had convicted 11 persons for murder and other offences, while 13 others, including VHP leader Atul Vaidya, were charged with lesser offences. It had acquitted 36 others in the case.

Kailash Dhobi, among those convicted under major offences and a prime accused arrested in 2002 who jumped temporary bail in February this year, surrendered before the court on June 13 after the judge concluded hearing on the quantum of sentence.

During the argument, public prosecutor representing the Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), RC Kodekar asked the court for nothing less than death sentence or jail term till death for all 24 convicts.

Lawyer for the victims, SM Vora also sought maximum punishment for the accused and argued that sentencing for each offence should not run concurrently so that they spend their entire life in jail.

Lawyer of the accused, Abhay Bhardwaj, has refuted the demand of capital punishment or maximum punishment in his arguments saying that the incident was spontaneous and there were enough provocations for it.

The Gulberg Society massacre, which took place here on February 28, 2002 when Narendra Modi was the Gujarat Chief Minister, shook the nation when a mob of 400 people set about attacking the society in the heart of Ahmedabad and killed the residents including Jafri.

It was one of the nine cases of the 2002 Gujarat riots probed by the Supreme Court-appointed SIT.

The incident had taken place a day after S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was burnt near Godhra train station in which 58 ‘kar sevaks’ returning from Ayodhya were killed.

During the course of trial, as many as 338 witnesses were cross-examined, with four different judges having presided over the case.

Of the 66 accused named by the SIT in the case, nine are behind bars, while others are out on bail.

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