Here's another twist in the Godhra case. The Gujarat HC today upheld the conviction of 31 people in the Godhra train burning case. It also retained the acquittal of 63 others in the Godhra Sabarmati Express burning case. However, there was one big change that it brought to the previous verdict. According to a report by the NDTV, among those acquitted included Maulvi Umarji, considered to be the mastermind behind the carnage.
11 convicts who were given the death sentence have now been sentenced to rigorous life imprisonment. According to a report by India Today, punishments of 20 others who were given the life imprisonment remains unchanged. The sentences were handed out while the High Court heard a bunch of appeals challenging the conviction and acquittals handed out by the SIT court in March 2011.
It is also being said that the Gujarat government's appeal challenging the acquittals of 63 people accused in the conspiracy to burn coach S6 of the Sabarmati Express was rejected. Going forward, the high court also blamed the Gujarat government and the Indian railways for not maintaining law and order, which led to the death of 59 kar sevaks on the ill-fated day. The train was returning from Ayodhya where a number of right wing workers and lakhs of volunteers demolished the Babri Masjid.
The Godhra massacre was investigated by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) and a special court convicted 31 people and acquitting 63 people while accepting the prosecution's argument that there was a conspiracy to burn coach S6 of the Sabarmati Express. 11 of the 31 were given death penalty while the remaining were sentenced to life imprisonment. All the 31 were convicted under IPC sections of murder, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy.