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Gujarat police arrests man accused of Godhra train burning after 16 yrs

DH News Service, Ahmedabad, Jan 31 2018, 1:00 IST

Gujarat police on Tuesday arrested Yakub Patalia, accused in the 2002 train carnage of Godhra.

The 63-year-old Patalia, who had been on the run for last 16 years, was ironically nabbed from Godhra town in Central Gujarat. The local police on patrol in the wee hours, received information about the location of the accused, leading to his arrest.

Patalia, in his late 40's, was said to be part of the mob that burnt S6 coach of Sabarmati Express on February 27, 2002, near Godhra railway station, charring to death 59 Kar Sevaks. The incident triggered communal riots across Gujarat in which more than 3,000 people lost their lives.

Patalia faces charges of attempt to murder under Section 307 of IPC, unlawful assembly under Sections 143 and 149, rioting armed with deadly weapons under Section 147 and 148, causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty under Section 332 and 352. Despite serious charges, Patalia could evade arrest for 16 years.

Brothers too guilty

It is worth mentioning that Yakub's two brothers €“ Kadir and Ayub - are also named as accused in the Godhra train carnage case. Kadir was arrested in 2015 and died in prison while undergoing trial. Ayub is serving life imprisonment at Vadodara jail.

Gujarat High Court had commuted death sentence of 11 to life imprisonment, upholding the life sentence of 20 other convicts. The High Court had upheld the trial court verdict convicting 31 and acquitting 63 accused in the case.

The police has begun the process of handing over Patalia to Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed to investigate the case.

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