Summary of Godhra verdict, court version

One of the accused acquitted is Maulvi Hussain Umar who was according to Police version the main mastermind behind the train carnage that had triggered widespread communal riots in Gujarat. Mohammad Hussain Kalota has also been acquitted.

According to verdict now it has been proved that this was a pre-planned conspiracy. The theory of accidental fire has been thus proven wrong.

Those convicted are: Suleman Ahmedhussain Tiger, Abdul Raheman Abdul Majid Suleja alias Haji Bilal, Abdul Raheman Abdul Majid Dhantiya alias Kankatto alias Jamburo, Qasim Abdulsattar alias Qasim  Biriyani Ghanchi, Irfan Siraz Bando Ghanchi, Anwarmohammad Maheda alias Lalu, Abdulrazak Mohammad Kurkur, Siddik alias Matunga Abdul Badam, Mohammad Yakub Mitha alias Popa, Ramzani Binyamin Bahera, Hussain Ahmed Charkha, Jabir Binyamin Bahera, Maheboob Khalid Chanda, Shoeb Yusuf Ahmed, Shaukat alias Bhano Faruk Aslam, Siddik Mohammad Mora, Salim alias Suleman Yusuf Sattar, Abdulsttar Ibrahim, Abdul Rauf Abdul Majid Isha, Yunus Abdulhaq Ghadiali, Ibrahim Abdulrazak Abdul alias Bhano, Siraj Mohammad Abdul Meda alias Badam, Bilal Abdul Ismail Badam, Faruk alias Bhuriyo Abdulsattar Ibrahim, Irfan Abdul Majid Kalandar alias Bhopo, Irfan Mohammad Abdul Gani Pataliya, Aiyub Abdul Gani Ismail Patalia, Shaukat Abdul Maulvi Ismail Badam, Mohammad alias Hani Abdula Maulvi Ismail Badam, Maheboob Ahmed Yusuf Hussain alias Latiko, Shaukat Yusuf Ismail Mohammad Vivino.

Those who had poured petrol over coach s-6 are: Aiyub Pataliya, Irfan Kalandar, Mehboob Popa, Shaukat Patadiya and Siddik Vohra.

All the 63 people acquitted by a court were released from Sabarmati Central Jail in the evening and taken to Godhra in two buses. The acquitted people belong to Godhra, 160 km away. The two buses were escorted by police vehicles. One bus contained all their belongings, while they sat in the other bus.

The trial, conducted inside the Sabarmati Central Jail here, began in June 2009 with the framing of charges against 94 accused, who were in the high-security prison since 2002.

The accused have been charged with criminal conspiracy and murder for burning of the S-6 coach of the train on February 27, 2002 near Godhra, about 125 km from here. Most of the deceased were karsevaks returning from Ayodhya.Following the incident, widespread communal riots broke out in various parts of the state in which over 1,000 people were killed.

As many as 253 witnesses were examined during the trial and over 1500 documentary evidences were presented before the court by the Gujarat police.Initially there were 107 accused, of which five died during the pendency of the case, while eight others were juveniles, who were tried by a separate court.

Core members of a group of Muslims in Godhra said to have conspired the Sabarmati Express train carnage in 2002 are living freely in Pakistan, the country that is known to harbor the terrorists. Though Red Corner Notice are issued against several accused, only one of them has been arrested so far, and he too has been acquitted in verdict delivered by court in Ahmedabad.

According to the verdict, three accused Salim Haji Ibrahim Panwala, Shaukat Ahmed Charkha alias Lalu and Faruk Bhano are still at large and were not arrested in Godhra case.

Originally Godhra train attack’s four accused were traced to be in Pakistan and Red corner notices were issued against them. However only one of them - Ibrahim alias Kachuka could be arrested in 2009 when he was returning from Pakistan by train.

Two accused Salim Panwala and Charkho have not been arrested yet because they are presently enjoying safe haven in Pakistan according to the police version, while main culprit Bhano is untraceable and therefore no red corner notice has been issued against him. He could be in any country at any location.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 March 2011 on page no. 10

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