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Justice pronounced, Justice done?

Justice delayed is Justice denied.

9 years of courtroom drama, committees, investigations and reports, finally the great Indian Judiciary pronounced a verdict that validated the “Conspiracy” theory of Godhra Train carnage.

“Special Court judge P. R. Patel has convicted 31 accused while acquitting 63 others,” Public Prosecutor J. M. Panchal said after the verdict inside the Sabarmati jail.

Thirty one people were convicted for hatching the conspiracy to burn down the S6 coach of Sabarmati Express carrying mainly the Kar Sevaks returning from Ayodhya. Interestingly, 63 otehers including the “main accused” Maulana Umarji was acquitted.

As many as 253 witnesses were examined during the trial and over 1,500 documentary evidences were presented before the court by the Gujarat police.

There were a total of 134 accused in the case, out of which 14 were released due to lack of evidence, five were juvenile, five died during proceedings of over nine years, 16 are absconding, and trial was conducted against 94 accused.

Of the 94, against whom the trial was conducted 80 are in jail and 14 are out on bail.

Two different panels appointed to inquire into the 2002 case had given different views on the Godhra train burning incident.

The heinous crime of the conspirators should be punished with harshest sentence. But my heart goes out to the 63 who have been acquitted. They have lost nine precious years of their life due to an irresponsible behaviour of the administration. Can their dignity be restored? Can they return back to their normal lives with full honour? Should the government not “compensate” (not necessarily monetarily) them for the inconvenience caused to them?

I wish to sieze this opportunity to also raise the following questions and hope i get an answer

1. Is the validation of conspiracy theory a validation for “reaction” by Hindus in the riots that followed the Godhra incident? Will this verdict influence the verdict on many riot cases still pending?

2. Since the court reached the conclusion that Justice W C Bannerjee is not credible enough, should Lalu Yadav not be show caused by the courts? And what made the judges choose Nanavati report over Bannerjee?

3. Should the Government of Gujarat not apologise to or compensate the victims of state sponsored irresponsible arrests? Is this verdict in a sense not a reminder for the Government of Gujarat that they failed people in 2002? Infact in a National Daily today the victims of Godhra train carnage themselves claimed they felt used for political gains and then dumped.

4. Should this verdict be a closure and people should move on?

5. The last and most important question : Is justice delayed, justice denied???

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