Gujarat HC reserves order in 2002 Ode massacre appeals case
Ahmedabad, Apr 18: The Gujarat High Court has completed hearing on a set of appeals in the Ode riot case where 23 people belonging to a minority community were allegedly burnt alive during the 2002 post-Godhra communal violence.
Riots broke out in Ode town of Anand district and 23 accused were convicted for the deaths by a special court, 18 of whom were awarded life imprisonment. A bench of justices Akil Kureshi and B N Karia last week completed the hearing on the appeals in the case and reserved its order, said Yogesh Lakhani, the lawyer representing the convicts.
The Special Investigation Team (SIT), which probed the case, along with the state government and victims, has sought the death penalty for the convicts given life imprisonment and enhanced sentence to those awarded seven-year jail term. They also sought conviction of the 23 people who were acquitted in the case. The convicts have also challenged the trial court's order in the high court.
As many as 23 accused were convicted by the trial court in April 2012. Of these, 18 were awarded life term, while the remaining five were sentenced to seven years in jail. Twenty-three members of a minority community, nine of them women and as many children, were allegedly burnt to death in a house in the Pirwali Bhagol area of Ode by a mob on March 1, 2002.
The deaths took place two days after the Godhra train fire that had triggered a communal conflagration across the state. Of the total 47 accused, the court had convicted 23 and acquitted as many. One of them died during the trial. The Ode incident was one of the nine cases that was probed by the Supreme Court-appointed SIT led by former CBI director R K Raghavan.