Highlights

  • Gujarat court acquitted 22 accused in 2002 riots case
  • Accused cleared of charges of killing 17 people, including 2 kids
  • Acquittal by Gujarat court due to lack of evidence

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Amid BBC series row, Gujarat court acquits 22 accused in 2002 riots case, says no proof they killed 17

After the murder on 28 February 2002, the victims' bodies were burned to destroy evidence, as per the prosecution.

A Gujarat court on 24 January 2023 acquitted 22 people in a case related to the 2002 post-Godhra riots. They had been accused of killing 17 members of a minority community, including 2 children in Delol village.

After the murder on 28 February 2002, the victims' bodies were burned to destroy evidence, as per the prosecution. Due to lack of evidence, Additional Sessions Judge Harsh Trivedi acquitted all 22 accused, 8 of whom died while the case was continuing.

Communal riots had broken out in different parts of the state a day after a bogie of the Sabarmati Express was torched by a mob near Godhra town in Panchmahal district on February 27, 2002, killing 59 passengers, most of them 'karsevaks' returning from Ayodhya.

An FIR (first information report) was lodged under Indian Penal Code sections pertaining to murder and rioting after the violence in Delol village. Another police inspector lodged a case afresh nearly two years after the incident and arrested 22 people for their alleged involvement in the riots.

The prosecution was unable to gather enough evidence against the accused persons, and even witnesses turned hostile, defence lawyer Gopalsinh Solanki said. The defence lawyer said the bodies of the victims were never found.

Police recovered bones from an isolated place on the banks of a river, but they were charred to such an extent that the identity of the victims could not be established, he said.

(With PTI inputs)

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