Godhra Ruling Against Islamic Terrorism: A Historic Occasion
Posted by jagoindia on February 23, 2011
Godhra ruling will set the trend against mob violence’
February 22, 2011
Sheela Bhatt in Ahmedabad
Rediff.com’s Sheela Bhatt was in Ahmedabad when the judgment in the Godhra train burning case was pronounced on Tuesday. She has also followed and written about the twists and turns in the historic nine-year legal battle. Her analysis of the verdict
On Tuesday, February 22, at 11.07 am, Judge P R Patel came to the makeshift courtroom inside the historic Sabarmati jail with two sets of papers. One set he gave to the prosecution side and another to the defence lawyer. They contained the names of 63 accused who had been acquitted and the 31 who had been convicted.
Most importantly, he announced that he has applied Section 302, Section 120-B, Section 149, 307, 323, 324, 332 of the Indian Penal Code to the 31 accused and he has also upheld the charge of conspiracy against them. That was the most important part of the judgment because it has the power to polarise opinion in India. The Godhra train carnage was not an accident, said the court. It believes that it was a preplanned conspiracy.
This judgment is historic because, in India, incidents of communal and mob violence are quite common but the conviction rate in cases related to them is quite low. A senior police officer related to the case told rediff.com, “This case is the first of its kind where more than 25 people are being convicted on serious charges of mob violence. This will set a trend. It is very difficult to build up a case against each of them. It is very heartening that the court has accepted our arguments and convicted 31 persons.”