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The Gujarat High Court on Monday commuted the death sentence of 11 convicts to rigorous life imprisonment, while upholding the life sentence of another 20 in the 2002 Godhra train burning case. The high court observed that the state government and railways had failed to maintain law and order, and directed them to pay compensation to the kin of victims.
Coach S-6 of the Sabarmati Express was torched on February 27, 2002 near Godhra station, resulting in the death of 59 people, most of them ‘karsevaks’ returning from Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.
The incident triggered communal riots across Gujarat, in which around 1,200 people were killed. A division bench of Justices Anant S Dave and G R Udhwani said in Monday’s verdict that it was upholding the conviction of the 11 persons whom the trial court had sentenced to death, but commuting their punishment to “rigorous life imprisonment”.