- Gujarat train carnage accused Rafik Bhatuk was sentenced to life imprisonment.
- The trial against him in the case began after his arrest last year.
- Bhatuk is the 35th accused to be held guilty by the court in the case so far.
Godhra train burning: A court here has sentenced to life imprisonment an accused in the case of the Godhra train carnage in 2002 in which 59 'karsevaks' were killed, which triggered the worst riots in history of Gujarat. A court of an additional sessions judge at Godhra in Gujarat's Panchmahal district on Saturday awarded life imprisonment to the accused, Rafik Bhatuk, who was arrested in February 2021.
The trial against him in the case began after his arrest last year. He was accused of being involved in the case of torching of a train returning from Ayodhya with 'karsevaks' on February 27, 2002, killing 59 of them. This led to communal riots in the state, in which over 1,200 people, mostly from a minority community, were killed.
Bhatuk is the 35th accused to be held guilty by the court in the case so far, special public prosecutor RC Kodekar said. "The judge wished not to be named," he said.
A Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Panchmahal police nabbed Bhatuk from a locality in Godhra town in February last year. He had escaped from Godhra after being named an accused in the case and stayed in various cities before returning here.
Earlier, a special SIT court had convicted 31 people in the case on March 1, 2011. Out of them, 11 were sentenced to death, while 20 were sentenced to life imprisonment.
The Gujarat High Court had in October 2017 commuted the death sentence of 11 convicts to life imprisonment, while upholding the punishment awarded by the special SIT court to 20 others.
Later, three more persons were sentenced to life imprisonment in the case on two occasions.