Indian Court announces verdict in Samjhota Express burning case

Indian Court announces verdict in Samjhota Express burning case
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NEW DELHI - According to The Hindu, the court upheld the conviction of 20, who were sentenced to life imprisonment. So now, all the 31 convicts get life term in prison.
Ahmedabad - The Gujarat High Court on Monday commuted the death sentence awarded to 11 convicts to life imprisonment in the Godhra train burning case of 2002.

With this judgment, the main accused in the case, Maulana Umarji, stands posthumously acquitted. The court upheld the conviction of 20, who were sentenced to life imprisonment. So now, all the 31 convicts get life term in prison.

The court observed that the State government and railways failed to maintain law and order and, therefore, kins of the victims must be paid a compensation of Rs. 10 lakh each.

Fifty-nine pilgrims, who were returning from Ayodhya, were charred to death when a mob attacked the train and torched the S6 coach on 26 February, 2002.

The verdict was pronounced on a set of appeals  — whose hearings were completed more than two years ago — that were filed challenging the conviction and acquittals in the case.

The Division Bench of Justice A,S. Dave and Justice G.R. Udhwani had completed the hearing of various appeals filed by those convicted by the trial court and also the Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) challenging the acquittal of 63 accused, including Maulana Umarji.

In 2011, the trial court found the 31 accused guilty of the barbaric incident and awarded the death sentence to the 11 persons and life imprisonment to the 20. It acquitted the 63.

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