The train burning had triggered massive communal riots across the state of Gujarat, leading to deaths of another about 1000 people.
Around 58 people lost their lives when the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was torched at the Godhra Railway Station on 27 February, 2002. The death sentence for 11 of them has today been changed to life imprisonment.
The court observed that the state government and railways failed to maintain law and order and therefore kins of the victims must be paid compensation of Rs 10 lakh each. According to PTI, the special SIT court had on March 1, 2011 convicted 31 people and acquitted 63 in the case.
They persons had appealed to the high court for leniency in their sentencing. "In other words, there was a conspiracy to burn coach S/6 of the Sabarmati Express train coming from Ayodhya and to cause harm to the kar sevaks travelling in that coach", said a report submitted by the commission.
The police investigation revealed that Aman Guest house owner Abdul Razak Kurkur had arranged 60-litre patrol a day before the incident.
A policeman walks towards the entrance of a carriage of a train in Godhra.
The court had convicted 31 people while accepting the prosecution's contention that there was a conspiracy behind the incident. All the 31 were convicted under IPC sections related to murder, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy. The court's observation was based upon the finding of the Gujarat government-appointed Nanavati Commission, which concluded that the fire in the S-6 coach was not an accident, but it was set ablaze.
Maulvi Saeed Umarji, believed to be the prime conspirator of the Godhra train burning case by the SIT, was also acquitted by the special court.
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