Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Friday granted ten days parole to nine convicts of the 2002 Gulbarg Society massacre case. Justice PP Bhatt granted the parole to the convicts, who were held guilty by a lower court.
These convicts, who include VHP leader Atul Vaid, had sought parole on the ground that they want to file an appeal in the high court against the lower court verdict for which they need time to hire advocates and arrange finances. The other eight convicts are – Yogendra Shekhawat, Krishna Kalal, Raju Tiwari, Mangilal Jain, Kapil Mishra, Suresh Dhobi, Mukesh Shankhla and Dilip Parmar.
Of these, Shekhawat, Kalal and Tiwari were sentenced to life imprisonment by the lower court, while Jain was sentenced to ten years jail. Other five convicts (Vaid, Mishra, Dhobi, Shankhla and Parmar) were sentenced to seven years imprisonment each.
Of the total 24 accused, the special court on 17 June sentenced 11 persons to life in jail on the charges of murder, 12 were given seven years of imprisonment and Mangilal Jain was sentenced to ten years of imprisonment for lesser offences. The court had acquitted 36 others.
The Gulbarg Society massacre had taken place on 28 February, 2002. The incident shook the nation when a mob of 400 people set about attacking the society in the heart of Ahmedabad, killing 69 people, including former Congress MP Eshan Jafri.
It was one of the nine cases of the 2002 Gujarat riots probed by the Supreme Court-appointed SIT. The incident took place a day after S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was burnt near Godhra train station in which 58 'kar sevaks' returning from Ayodhya were killed.
During the course of trial, 338 witnesses were cross-examined, with four different judges having presided over the case.