UPDATE: 11:59 a.m. IST â€” The special court in Ahmedabad on Thursday convicted 24 people in the Gulbarg Society massacre case and acquitted 36 others, including BJP corporator Bipin Patel and the then police inspector, KG Erda, according to the Hindu.
While 11 accused were convicted for murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 13 others were convicted of other charges, Times Now tweeted.
Original Story â€”
A special court is likely to announce the verdict in the case of a massacre at the Muslim-dominated residential area â€” Gulbarg Society in Gujarat's Ahmedabad â€” during the post-Godhra riots in 2002. As many as 66 people were charged in the case for the murder of 69 people including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri. Four of the 66 accused died during the trial.
Special judge PB Desai is expected to announce the verdict in the presence of lawyers representing all the parties, the Hindu reported. Heavy security has been put in place within the premises of the court in Ahmedabad and also for the judge during the hearing on Thursday.
Desai took over the case in November 2014 and completed the trials in September 2015, but was prevented from pronouncing the judgement due to a stay order from the Supreme Court, the Indian Express reported. The apex court allowed the special court to declare the verdict by May 31.
"Two companies of State Reserve Police have also been deployed at communally sensitive places in the city. Even at Gulbarg Society, there will be dozens of policemen guarding the locality to thwart any untoward incident," the IE quoted a police officer as saying.
The Gulbarg society was attacked on Feb. 28, 2002, allegedly by a mob of Hindus. While 39 people, including Jafri, who was hiding several Muslims inside his house, were burnt alive, another 30 were presumed dead, NDTV reported.
The hearing in the case started in 2009 and the court examined at least 338 witnesses. At least nine people are still behind the bars, while others are out on bail. Bipin Patel, the BJP corporator from Asarwa Chakla area where the Gulbarg society is located, is one of the accused in the case.
The Gulbarg Society massacre case was among the nine major cases investigated by a Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation team (SIT) led by former CBI director RK Raghavan. The Gulbarg Society was attacked after Sabarmati Express train was attacked at Godhra station on Feb. 27.