3 Jul 2022

Suspect In 2002 Godhra Train Burn Case Receives Life Feast In Prison

Godhra court sentenced the accused to life in prison in the 2002 Godhra train massacre in which 59 'karsevaks' were killed, the worst in Gujarat history.
An overtime judge in Godhra in the Panchmahal district of Gujarat on Saturday sentenced the accused to life imprisonment, Rafik Bhatuk, who was arrested in February 2021.

The case against him began after he was arrested last year.

He is accused of being involved in the arson attack on a train returning from Ayodhya traveling with 'karsevaks' on February 27, 2002, killing 59 of them. This led to civil unrest in the province, in which more than 1,200 people were killed, most of them from a minority community.

Bhatuk is the 35th accused to be convicted by a court in the case so far, said special public prosecutor RC Kodekar. "The judge wants to remain anonymous," he said.

The Panchmahal Special Operations Group (SOG) arrested Bhatuk in the town of Godhra in February last year. He escaped from Godhra after being summoned by the accused in the case and lived in various cities before returning here.

Earlier, the SIT special court had sentenced 31 people in the case on March 1, 2011. Of these, 11 were sentenced to death and 20 were sentenced to life in prison.

The Gujarat Supreme Court in October 2017 commuted the death penalty to 11 convicts to life imprisonment, while allowing a sentence handed down by a special SIT court to 20 others.

Later, three others were sentenced to two life terms in this case.

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