BJP hails Godhra verdict

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

NEW DELHI - The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday welcomed the Gujarat special court verdict convicting 31 accused in the 2002 Godhra train burning case.

“Certainly, there has been a degree of assurance that law and justice has prevailed. There were elements who were trying to belittle it. There have been politicians who tried to abuse it,” BJP spokesman Ravishankar Prasad told reporters.

He, however, slammed the Justice U C Banerjee Committee report, which found that the fire was lit from inside the coach.

“We need to recall that Justice Banerjee almost gave a collusive report at the time of 2005 Bihar election, which held that the entire incident is nearly false and kar sevaks (volunteers) set themselves on fire from inside,” he said.

The Banerjee Committee, appointed by then Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav to probe the causes of fire in the Sabarmati Express in Godhra, had found that the fire was “accidental.”

Reacting to the judgement, BJP spokesperson Tarun Vijay said: “This has exposed the nefarious designs of the UPA government which tried to cover up the entire ghastly episode and tried to put the blame on the victims themselves.”

A special court in Ahmedabad today convicted 31 under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and acquitted 63 of those accused.

The quantum of judgment will be announced on February 25.

Special Public Prosecutor JM Panchal said that the court upheld the decision that the burning of the train was a pre-planned conspiracy.

“The motive of the conspiracy was to set the train on fire,” said Panchal.

The Court pronounced judgment on the role of over 90 people accused of conspiring and burning the S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express on February 27, 2002. Fifty-nine people, mostly Kar Sewaks returning from Ayodhya, were killed in the incident.

Following the incident, widespread communal riots broke out in various parts of Gujarat in which over 1,000 people, mostly from the minority community, were killed. (ANI)

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