Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sardarpura Massacre Trial Ends, Verdict Awaited

Gujarat EDN
IE 07SEP2011

Parimal Dabhi

Ahmedabad: The trial proceedings in the 2002 Sardarpura massacre case have concluded and the judgment is awaited though no date has been set.

Thirty-one persons, including women and children, were burnt alive in a locked house of Sardarpura village of Vijapur taluka in Mehsana district of north Gujarat during the post-Godhra riots.

Both prosecution and defence recently completed their arguments in the special trial court for the case presided over by Mehsana district judge S C Srivastava. During the proceedings, the court had also visited the scene of crime, the house in Shaikh Vaas of the village where the massacre took place. Shaikh Vaas was a locality where around 20 kutcha houses belonging to the minority community members were located.

Advocate Aslam Baig, who is appearing on behalf of the witnesses and victims, said the court has completed trial proceedings and its judgment is now awaited on a date to be given by it.

Sardarpura massacre case was one of the nine 2002 riots cases which were ordered to be further investigated by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team.

On March 1, 2002, a mob of around 1,500 people attacked Shaikh Vaas, where around 100-odd people had stayed back while the rest had fled. The victims had taken shelter at the sole pucca house of one Mehmood Shaikh in the locality. The mob locked the house from outside and set it ablaze.

Twenty-eight people died on the spot, while three succumbed to the injuries subsequently.

Baig said most of the eye-witnesses could survive because they were hiding in houses adjacent to the homes of the local majority community members, which were spared by the rioters.

A total of 73 persons are facing trial in the case. Eight of them are in jail while the rest are out on bail. The prosecution has examined 112 persons as witnesses in the case.


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