Gujarat court convicts 23 for Ode massacre
Anand (Guj): A sessions court here today convicted 23 people and acquitted as many others for want of evidence in connection with the Ode village massacre in 2002 post-Godhra riots.
The verdict was delivered by the district and sessions court Judge Poonam Singh. The court will pronounce the quantum of sentence later. The riot case was probed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the Supreme Court.
Twentythree people, including women and children of the minority community, were burnt to death in a house in Pirwali Bhagol area of Ode village on March one, 2002, following the Godhra train burning incident. In total, there were 47 accused in the case, however, one of them had died during the course of trial.
Special public prosecutor P N Parmar said more than 150 witnesses have been examined, while over 170 documentary evidences have been placed before the court.
The trial began in the end of 2009 and was on the verge of completion when the then judge hearing the case resigned in May 2011 citing personal reasons. Following this, Judge Singh was appointed and all the arguments were made afresh before her.
Parmar further said that the SIT was probing three cases regarding Ode. Assistant special public prosecutor in the case was Shailendra Ghadia, while advocates Irshad Mansuri and Nasir Sheikh represented the riot victims. The defence team was headed by advocate C K Patel.
Out of the nine cases probed by the SIT, judgements have been pronounced in two cases, including the Godhra train burning incident where 11 people were awarded death sentence and 20 life imprisonment. The second case was that of Sardarpura village in Mehsana district where 31 persons were awarded life term and 42 others were acquitted.