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A court in Gujarat’s Panchmahal district on Tuesday acquitted 22 people for lack of evidence. He was accused of killing 17 members of the minority community, including two children, in a case related to the 2002 post-Godhra communal riots in Gujarat.
Defense lawyer Gopalsinh Solanki said that the court of Additional Sessions Judge Harsh Trivedi acquitted all the 22 accused, eight of whom had died during the trial of the case.
Solanki said that the court acquitted all the accused in the case of rioting and killing of 17 people of minority community, including two children, in Delol village of the district due to lack of evidence.
At the same time, the prosecution says that the victims were killed on February 28, 2002 and their bodies were burnt with the intention of destroying the evidence.
Communal riots broke out in different parts of the state a day after a mob set ablaze a bogie of the Sabarmati Express near Godhra town in Panchmahal district on February 27, 2002. 59 passengers were killed in the bogie burning incident, most of whom were ‘kar sevaks’ and were returning from Ayodhya.
But according to an estimate, more than 1000 people were killed in the communal riots that followed.
An FIR was registered under IPC sections related to murder and rioting following the violence in Delol village. But another police inspector registered a fresh case almost two years after the incident and arrested 22 people for their involvement in the riots.
Solanki said that the prosecution could not collect enough evidence against the accused and even the witnesses turned hostile.
Defense counsel said the bodies of the victims were never found.