Update (March 1, 2011) : 11 Sentenced to Death, 20 to Life in Prison
The killing of 59 Hindu devotees in a train near Godhra railway station (in the western Indian state of Gujarat) was not an accident but a conspiracy, a Special Court in Ahmedabad ruled today.
Special Court judge P.R.Patel convicted 31 people for the murder of the Hindu devotees by a Muslim mob and acquitted 63 others.
It’s safe to assume that the majority of the convicted as well as the accused in the Godhra train burning case are Muslims.
The sentences will be pronounced on February 25.
Some 59 Hindu devotees returning from a visit to the holy city of Ayodha were killed in the Sabarmati Express train coach S-6 in February 2002 when a Muslim mob set fire to the coach by throwing petrol bombs and hurling kerosene and petrol into the coach.
In retaliation for the Godhra killings, Hindu butchers went on a retaliatory danse macabre slaughtering several hundred Muslims.
Two committees that looked into the Godhra train burning incident reached opposite conclusions.
The Nanavati Commission (appointed by the Gujarat government) concluded it was a pre-planned conspiracy while the U.C.Banerjee panel (appointed by the central government) held that it was accidental.
Modi was Right
The verdict is a shot in the arm for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi who was vilified for calling the Godhra train burning a “pre-planned massacre.”
But we consider Modi, a Hindu, guilty for failing to prevent the Hindu mobs from butchering several hundred Muslims in the retaliatory attacks of February-March 2002.