Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court has acquitted 12 persons convicted for murder, rioting and unlawful assembly by a trial in connection with post-Godhra riot case in Ghodasar village of Kheda district, where 14 Muslims were killed.

In all, 15 persons had been convicted by a trial court in Nadiad in December 2003. Out of them, 12 persons were sentenced to life imprisonment, while three others were awarded two years of rigorous imprisonment.

On Friday, the high court division bench of Justice A L Dave and Justice N V Anjaria acquitted 12 persons, who were awarded life term for the lack of evidence.

This was among the first post-Godhra riots cases, in which, the accused had been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The prison term of three others got over, while their appeals were pending in the high court. The 12 persons with life imprisonment were in jail.
According to case details, 14 Muslims were hacked to death in an open field on March 3, 2002 in Ghodasar village of Kheda district while fleeing an armed mob that was chasing them following rumours that members of the minority community had killed three persons of the majority community.

Police officers were able to recover bodies of 13 victims. They also found the burnt remains of one body.

 After being convicted, all the 15 accused had appealed against the verdict of the trial court.

(Agencies)