It's been 11 years since the gruesome incident at Godhra that killed 59 karsevaks and triggered large-scale communal riots across Gujarat resulting in the death of over 1200 people. We take a look at various developments that have happened in the Godhra riots case so far:
On February 27, 2002, coach S6 of Ahmedabad-bound Sabarmati Express is torched by a violent mob at Godhra railway station, killing 59 people. Communal violence erupted in various parts of Gujarat after the incident, resulting in the death of over 1,200 people
In March 2006, Gujarat government appointed a commission under Commission of Inquiry Act to probe the Godhra incident and the post-Godhra riots. On May 24, 2002, the first chargesheet was filed against 54 people, which was later increased to 134. Almost a year later, Gujarat Police got its first confession - that of Jabir Binyamin Behra. He revealed that the conspiracy was hatched at Aman Guest House in Godhra on February 26, 2002. Behra named Maulana Hussain Umarji as a key conspirator.
On February 14, 2003, Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) was invoked against those arrested for Godhra train burning case. The Supreme Court referred the matter to the Gujarat High Court and put a stay on the trial till the POTA issued is resolved. In October 2008, the POTA charges were lifted after POTA Review Committee gave its opinion to not charge the accused under POTA.
Source : IBNLive
In 2008, the apex court lifted stay on probe and constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief RK Raghavan to probe the case. According to reports, the SIT concluded that it was a 'planned conspiracy' and not a spontaneous incident.
In January 2005, U C Banerjee submitted a preliminary report suggesting that fire in S6 coach was an 'accident' and ruled out the possibility of fire having resulted after any external attack. In October 2006, the Gujarat high court ruled ruled the formation of the Banerjee committee 'unconstitutional' since Nanavati-Shah Commission was already conducting inquiry in all riot-related cases.
In September 2008, the Nanavati Commission submitted its report on Godhra train burning incident, saying that it was a pre-planned conspiracy and S6 coach was torched by a mob, which had poured petrol inside it.
Thirty-one people were convicted and 63 others, including the main accused Maulvi Umarji, were acquitted on February 22, 2011 by a special court in the 2002 Godhra train burning incident. Death penalty was given to eleven of the 31 accused in the burning of S6 coach, while the court jailed the other 20 for life imprisonment, categorizing the crime to be 'rarest of the rare'.