Ahmedabad: A trial court on Friday acquitted all the 68 accused due to lack of evidence in a case related to the 2002 post-Godhra riot at Seshan village in Deodar tehsil of Banaskantha district.
Fourteen persons, including two children, were killed in the violence at the village — which is about 150 km from here — in the aftermath of the Godhra train-burning incident. Additional District and Sessions Judge V K Pujara of Taluka court, Deodar, said the statements of the witnesses did not support other evidence. 190 witnesses had deposed before the court.
The first charge-sheet was filed in 2002, while 12 supplementary charge-sheets were filed subsequently. The prosecution had argued that accounts of the eye-witnesses clearly showed that all the accused persons were involved in the killing of 14 persons. But the defence pointed out that the witnesses could not recognise the accused during the identification parade.
According to police, a mob of around 5,000 people, armed with swords and sticks, had attacked the village on March 2, 2002. The village had about 200 people of Baloch Muslim community, who had been living there since 1947. The mob killed 14 Muslims, including two girls who were five-year-old and 11-year-old, respectively, and two women.
Two persons from the mob were killed in police-firing. Additional Public Prosecutor D V Thakor said the victims made representations before Justice G T Nanavati Commission, probing the riots, seeking a speedy trial. Following which an inquiry was conducted by Banaskantha SP S M Katara, while earlier the probe had been conducted by Deputy Superintendent of police Ravindra Patel. Ten out of the 68 accused were in jail for the last 12 years.