//Gujarat riots: 4 get lifer for murder

Gujarat riots: 4 get lifer for murder

They chopped a victim’s body in 35 pieces and sprayed acid and salt on it

IANS

Ahmedabad: A Gujarat court on Thursday awarded life imprisonment to four people convicted of killing a man in the city during the 2002 sectarian violence.

Additional Sessions Judge D T Soni here handed down the sentence against Fakruddin Qamaruddin, Mohammed Zahir Abdul Nazir, Zakir Hussain alias Mutter and Mohammed Afzal Sheikh on the charge of killing Devendra Ambalal Solanki in the Gomatipur neighbourhood on March 30, 2002.

Two of the six accused were acquitted, as witnesses could not identify them as part of the mob that had killed Solanki.

The victim's body — chopped in 35 pieces with acid and salt sprayed on it — was found lying buried in the Vankarvaas area on April 12, 12 days after the incident.

The sword and axe seized from two of the accused had bloodstains that were found to be matching with the remains of the body in a DNA test.

Earlier, only four accused were arrested by police while two remained absconding.

The court examined 36 witnesses, of whom four main witnesses turned hostile. But the court re-examined witnesses after the two absconding accused, Yousu alias Mithun Actor and Hazimulla Ansari — who stand acquitted — were arrested.

During the re-examination, Vishwanath Srimali, a key witness, identified the four accused.

The court has issued a notice to three other witnesses for perjury.

Defence lawyer M M Sheikh disagreed with the court's observation of the case as "the rarest of the rare" and said that incidents like that were common during communal violence.

He said that he would approach the Gujarat High Court against the session court's verdict.

At least 1,000 people were killed in communal violence in the state in 2002 in after 59 passengers were killed in the burning of a coach of the Sabarmati Express February 27, 2002, at Godhra.

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