Politics

Gujarat Riots: Verdict in Gulberg Society Case Likely on June 2

File photo of victims of the Gujarat riots protesting. Credit: PTI

File photo of victims of the Gujarat riots protesting. Credit: PTI

 

Ahmedabad: A special court in Ahmedabad is likely to pronounce its order in the Gulberg Housing Society riot case on June 2. Former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri and 68 others were killed in the society in the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat.

Special judge P. B. Desai issued notices to lawyers concerned yesterday asking them to be present on June 2 when the judgement is likely to be pronounced.

“The judge ordered the clerk to issue notice to all advocates concerned to remain present in the court on June 2 when the judgement will be pronounced,” said lawyer S. M. Vora who appeared for the riots victims.

The court was earlier directed by the apex court to pronounce the judgement by May 31, after the trial concluded on September 22, 2015.

The lawyer of the victims had argued, during the trial, that the massacre was a pre-planned criminal conspiracy hatched by the accused to kill members of the minority community in the Gulberg Society.

The defence had refuted the ‘conspiracy theory’ and claimed that the mob resorted to violence only after Eshan Jafri had fired several rounds at them.

Defence lawyer Abhay Bhardwaj said a mob of around 1,500 had gathered on their own and not as a pre-planned conspiracy.

During the trial, which took place over a period of six years, saw 338 witnesses testify. The Gulberg Society case is one of the nine cases of the 2002 Gujarat riots probed by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT).

There are 66 accused named by the SIT in the Gulberg Society case of which nine are behind the bars for 14 years while others are out on bail.

Sixty-nine people lost their lives in Gulberg Society violence on February 28, 2002. The incident had taken place a day after the S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express train was burnt near Godhra train station in which 58 ‘karsevaks’ from Ayodhya were killed.