Mehsana (Gujarat): Twenty one of 22 people found guilty in the Deepda Darwaza 2002 Gujarat riots case have been sentenced to life imprisonment. One, a policeman, has been handed a one-year jail term for dereliction of duty. A former BJP MLA, Prahlad Gosa, is among 61 people acquitted.
On February 28, 2002, an entire family of 11, including two children, were hacked to death by a rioting mob at Deepda Darwaza area of Visnagar town in Mehsana district. The bodies were then set on fire.
Of the 22 people convicted earlier this morning, 21 were found guilty of attempt to murder under Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC); none was convicted for murder under Section 302. The police inspector, MK Patel, was held guilty of dereliction of duty.
The judge gave the former BJP MLA, Mr Gosa, the benefit of doubt while acquitting him.
Charges had initially been framed against 83 accused, including three women, but the court later allowed the application of complainant Mohammad Iqbal Baloch, listing the Mr Gosa and the policeman Mr Patel, as additional accused in the case, taking the total number to 85. Later, one accused was found to be a minor and one died during trial.
The Deepda Darwaza massacre is one of the nine cases, including the Godhra train burning case, that was investigated by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on orders of the Supreme Court. It is the second case of rioting where among the accused there are three women who were charged with murder and other crimes. Former Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani and other two women were tried in the Naroda Patiya case, verdict in which is expected next month.
(With PTI inputs)
Story first published:
July 30, 2012 12:36 IST