24 People Convicted, 36 Acquitted in Gulbarg Society Massacre Case

  1. The verdict comes 14 years after a mob of nearly 20000 attacked Gulbarg society- a cluster of 29 bungalows and 10 apartment buildings housing mostly Muslims – killing 69 people, including former Congress lawmaker Ehsan Jafri.
  2. The mob attacked the housing complex  on February 28, a day after coaches of the Sabarmati Express train were burnt at Godhra station leaving 59 people dead.
  3. Bipin Patel, a sitting BJP corporator from the Asarwa area, was charged with murder and rioting like the other 65 people who stood trial. Mr Patel, was the corporator in 2002 too and has won multiple elections since.
  4. The rioters had breached the boundary wall of the housing complex and set houses afire. Ehsan Jafri was dragged out, hacked and burnt to death along with 68 others. His frantic phone calls to police officers and senior politicians for help allegedly went unanswered.
  5. Mr Jafri’s wife, Zakiya Jafri, now 77, has pursued justice through the years despite failing health and has said she wants the death sentence for the killers of her husband.
  6. Ms Jaffri had also alleged the complicity of then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and other ministers in the riots that left more than 1,000 people dead, and has moved the High Court after the lower court gave them a clean chit.
  7. The lower court agreed with the SIT that Mr Modi and his state government took all necessary steps to control law and order after the Godhra killings. The Gujarat High Court is now hearing Ms Jafri’s petition.
  8. Rupa Mody, the mother of 14-year-old Azhar, a Parsi boy who died in the massacre, too has demanded the most stringent punishment for those who killed her son. Bollywood filmmaker Rahul Dholakia’s film Parzania was based on Azhar’s story.
  9. Trial in the Gulbarg case began in 2009, seven years after the massacre, and concluded last year in September. The Supreme Court, which is monitoring the case, had directed the special court to give its verdict by May 31.
  10. The SIT has said in court that 39 charred bodies were found and are proof that the victims were burnt alive. It has also said that petrol cans, lathis and swords found at the site indicate that there was a large-scale massacre.

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