A Gujarat court has acquitted 27 accused of gangrape and murder of over 10 people in the 2002 Gujarat riots case.
The case: The prosecution had said that the accused were a part of a mob that went haywire after the Sabarmati train burning incident in Godhra. Even though a total of 39 people were accused, 12 had died during the course of trial and only 27 remained.
The charges: In the FIR that was filed following the incident, the accused were booked for rioting, unlawful assembly, rioting with armed weapons, murder, and causing the disappearance of evidence, among other sections of the Indian Penal Code.
The Reasons for acquittal: Additional sessions judge LG Chudasma, while delivering the verdict said:
- The case is based on "mere suspicion without any evidence on record" (according to The Indian Express)
- the 190 witnesses examined in the case had either “turned hostile” or “not supported the prosecution’s case” or were “unable to recall facts or identify the accused”
More details? The prosecution said that over 13 persons were killed when a mob of more than 2,000 people from “Hindu and Muslim communities” clashed with sharp weapons and inflammable objects in Kalol city in the Gandhinagar district.
The most significant case was the Ambika society massacre, where a group of 38 from a community were attacked.
According to the prosecution 11 were set on fire and filled while 17 escaped. A woman had alleged that she was gang-raped and that one of her toes were cut off by the accused. But, while in court, the woman “failed to identify the accused”, thus leading the court to conclude that “the gang-rape cannot be proven”.
Another case emanated from the murder of Imran Ghodawala who was allegedly murdered with a sword and then dragged by the mob into a masjid which was set on fire.
However, the witnesses could not substantiate facts, which led the court to observe that they were “witnesses, whose testimonies does not help the prosecution."
(With inputs from The Indian Express)