Trial begins in Gulberg Society massacre case, 62 charged

By Staff Reporter,

Ahmedabad: Seven and a half years after the incident, trial in the Gulberg Society mass massacre case has begun on Tuesday with designated fast track court judge B U Joshi charging the 62 accused persons for murder, gangrape, attempt to murder, robbery, hatching a conspiracy and causing disharmony between two communities.

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However, another accused, a police inspector under suspension K G Erda could not be charged because he was not present in the court due to his illness. Erda was inspector of the Meghaninagar police station when the incident took place in March 2002. He is accused of dereliction of duty and destruction of evidence.

A total of 69 persons, including ex-MP Ehsan Jafri and 14-year-old Parsi boy Azhar Dara Mody, were brutally killed in the carnage. A film on Azhar titled Parzania was made by Bollywood. While it was screened in the rest of the country, it was not allowed in Gujarat because of threat from saffron elements.

A total of 63 persons from a mob of around 20,000 attacking the Gulberg Society were accused of taking part in the killings. According to the chargesheet, the ex-MP was dragged out of his house by nine of these accused, done to death in the most brutal way and then his body was burnt to destroy evidence.

The accused were also charged of desecrating a mosque and a madrasa inside the society, besides being charged of gang rape.

Among the accused against whom charges were framed include VHP leader Atul Vaidya, BJP leaders Pradeep Parmar, former municipal councilor Chunilal Prajapati and sitting BJP councilor Bipin Patel.

The case was reinvestigated by Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by former CBI director R K Raghavan.

However, in another case of Gujarat 2002 riots 29 people were acquitted by a fast track court.

A total of 29 persons accused of killing six members of a Muslim family in Abasana village of Ahmedabad district during 2002 riots were acquitted by a fast track court for want of evidence here on Tuesday. The mass murder had taken place on April 3, 2002.

Six members of a Ghanchi Muslim family were attacked on the outskirts of Abasana village by a mob belonging to Hindus. Among the dead were Dawood Ghanchi, his wife Noorjahan, brother Ismail and three others-Dawood Qasim, Deenmohammed Dawood and Allarakha Umarbhai.

The police had arrested 31 persons and filed chargesheets against them in Viramgam fast track court. However, in 2004, complainant rubina Ghanchi filed an application in the Gujarat High Court seeking transfer of the case to Ahmedabad, citing threat to witnesses. All the witnesses had shifted to Ahmedabad for security reasons.

The case was thereafter shifted to a fast track court in Muslim-dominated Mirzapur locality of Ahmedabad. However, the accused were acquitted for want of enough evidence.