• [Representational Image] A special SIT court on Friday awarded life term to 11 convicts in the Gulbarg Society massacre case. Picture: One of the accused in 2002 Gulberg society massacre case being taken to be produced before an Ahmedabad court on June 2, 2016.Reuters
  • [Representational Image] Picture: Survivors of the 2002 Gujarat riots offer prayers to mark the 12th anniversary of riots inside a mosque at the Gulbarg Society, a Muslim-dominated housing, in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad Feb. 28, 2014.Reuters

A special court of the Special Investigating Agency (SIT) in Ahmedabad on Friday awarded life term to 11 convicts in the Gulbarg Society massacre case, according to reports. The 11 convicts awarded life sentence for 14 years were convicted for murder by special court judge PB Desai on June 2. Another 13 were found guilty of lesser crimes.

Of these 13 convicts, 12 have been sent to prison for seven years while one has been sent behind bars for 10 years, the Hindu reported. The 12 convicts were sentenced for attacking and burning shops and houses, and rioting.

While delivering the verdict on the quantum of sentence on Friday, the court observed the 2002 riots in the Gulbarg Society was the "darkest phase of civil society," the Indian Express reported. A total of 69 people were killed in the Gulbarg Society massacre. While at least 39 people, including Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who was hiding several Muslims inside his house during the 2002 Gujarat riots, were burnt alive, no trace was found of another 30, and they were presumed dead.

The court also advised the government against remitting the sentence, which it said should be concurrent, according to the IE. In concurrent sentences, a defendant needs to serve his/her sentences for all the offences at once, unlike consecutive sentences, where an offender serves the terms one after the other.

Kailash Lalchand Dhobi, Yogendrasinh alias Lalo Mohansinh Shekhawat, Jayeshkumar alias Gabbar Madanlal Jinger, Krishna Kumar alias Krishna, Jayesh Ramji Parmar, Raju alias Mamo Ramavatar Tiwari, Naran Sitaram Tank alias Naran Channelwalo, Lakhansinh alias Lakhiyo Lalubha Chudasama, Bharat alias Bharat Taili Shitalaprasad, Bharat Laxmansinh Goud Rajput and Dinesh Prabhudas Sharma are the convicts who have to serve life terms.

During the hearing to decide the quantum of the sentence, public prosecutor RC Kodekar had requested the special court to award life imprisonment to the convicts if not the death sentence.

The special court had convicted 24 of the 66 people booked in connection with the carnage and acquitted 36 others in the absence of evidence. Five of the 66 people had died during the trial, while one went missing, according to NDTV.

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