Gujarat HC asks state govt. to pay Rs.262 crore compensation to riot victims

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Ahmedabad, May 14 (ANI): The Gujarat High Court on Thursday asked the Government of Gujarat to pay a compensation of Rs.262 crore to victims of the riots that followed the burning of the Sabarmati Express in 2002.

The High Court order said that sum was allocated for the riot victims by the Central Government in 2007, and therefore, it was only right that the state government should distribute it to the victims.

The High Court order was pronounced on the basis of a complaint filed by the riot victims against the state government.

Thursday's order comes six days after the High Court designated nine judges for as many special fast track courts to carry out the trial in the 2002 post-Godhra riot cases being probed by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT).

Out of the nine special courts, four will be in Ahmedabad, two each in Mehsana and Anand, and one in Himmatnagar of Sabarkantha district.

According to the court''s order, additional sessions judge P R Patel has been designated to conduct the trial in the Godhra train carnage case that will be held in the premises of the Sabarmati Central Jail here.

Judge S H Vora and additional sessions Judge Jyotsna Yagnik will be presiding over the trial of Naroda Gam and Naroda Patiya cases respectively.

Judge B U Joshi has been designated as judge for the special court dealing with the Gulberg Society massacre case, where Congress ex-MP Ehsan Jaffery was killed.

Justices B N Kariya and S C Srivastava will handle the two cases in Mehsana district.

Judges S Y Trivedi and R M Sarine will conduct the trial in two cases in Khambodaj and Ode of Anand district respectively.

Judge H P Patel will oversee the Prantij taluka riot case of of Sabarkantha district where some British nationals were also killed. The special court will be based in Himmatnagar, the district headquarters.

On May 1, the Supreme Court ordered day-to-day hearing of the Gujarat riot cases by fast track courts in the state.

While vacating its stay order of November 21, 2003, the apex court directed that witnesses be provided security for their safe passage and if necessary at their place of living during the trial.

The court said the SIT would act as a nodal agency to decide as to which witnesses in the case should be given protection and relocated. The apex court also gave liberty to the SIT to recommend cancellation of bail if it is considered necessary. (ANI)

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