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A special court in Gujarat on Nov 5 convicted 31 of the 73 accused in the 2002 Sardarpura massacre case in which 33 people of the minority community were burnt alive.
The director of “Prashant”, a centre for human rights, justice and peace, Father Cedric Prakash has hailed the Sardarpura verdict which convicted 31 persons. “With the conviction of thirty-one persons, in the massacre of thirty-three at Shaikh Mohalla in Sardarpura, during the Gujarat Carnage of 2002, the wheels of TRUTH and JUSTICE are surely , though slowly, moving in the right direction,” he said. He went ahead and said although there were more than seventy accused; the conviction of such a large number in a communal violence incident in the country is unprecedented. Other cases now need to be expedited and the guilty, irrespective of the office they hold, should be convicted as soon as possible.
This is the first post-Godhra riot case, probed by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), on which the verdict has been pronounced. Out of the 42 acquitted, 11 were freed due to lack of evidence, while 31 were given the benefit of doubt, who have been asked to submit a solvency bond of Rs 25,000 each. The court has also directed them not to leave the country without its permission.