Gulbarg massacre verdict: 24 convicted, 36 acquitted by special court

New Delhi, June 2: : A special SIT court on Thursday convicted 24 out of the 66 accused in the 2002 Gulbarg society communal riots and acquitted 36 accused.

According to reports, 11 out of the 24 have been convicted for murder and 13 for other charges.

Special Court judge PB Desai delivered the judgment eight months after the trial concluded on September 22, last year.

Bipin Patel, a sitting Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corporator, who was also the corporator in 2002 when the massacre happened and won the election for fourth consecutive term last year, has been reportedly acquitted.

The case was being monitored by the Supreme Court, which gave its nod for pronouncement of the judgment by May 31.

Meanwhile, the city of Ahmedabad has been put on high alert ahead of the verdict.

The trial court had earlier given its verdict on August 29, 2012, convicting 32 accused including a minister in the Gujarat government.

Among the 66 accused named by the SIT in the case, nine are behind bars since 14 years, while others are out on bail. As many as 338 witnesses were examined in the case.

The Gulbarg Society case is one of the nine cases of the 2002 Gujarat riots probed by the Supreme Court-appointed SIT.

The Gulbarg Society massacre took place on February 28, during the 2002 Gujarat riots, when a mob attacked the society in Ahmedabad.

A large number of houses were burnt, and 39 persons were burnt alive, 30 others, including Jafri, went missing. However, after seven years, the missing persons were presumed dead.

The Supreme Court had stayed the trial in major Gujarat cases on petitions filed by the National Human Rights Commission and the Citizens for Justice and Peace, who sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation and transfer of the cases outside Gujarat.

The apex court bench on March 26, 2008, directed the Gujarat government to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT), headed by R. K. Raghavan, a former head of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the case.