Godhra: HC allows mothers of victims to get free book

Godhra: HC allows mothers of victims to get free book

The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday permitted mothers of two victims of post-Godhra riots to have a free copy of paper book related to a set of appeal petitions in Gulberg Society Massacre case.

These two women lost their sons in the riot in which 69 persons were burnt to death.

The division bench of justice J B Pardiwala and justice A C Rao allowed pleas of Saira Sandhi and Roopa Mody and ordered the registry to provide them free copy of paperbook. Sandhi and Mody are key witnesses in the case. The bench also directed to amend the rules of high court that charges fees for paper book in cases of appeals filed by victims.

The women's advocate M M Tirmizi argued in the court that "these victims have lost everything and therefore can't afford to spend Rs 1,21,000 fees demanded by the registry of high court." The paper book runs into 26,000 pages that contains all the documents related to the trial of Gulberg Society Massacre and appeal petitions among others.

Sandhi and Mody lost their sons in the massacre on February 28, 2002 in Ahmedabad. Ex-Congress MP Ahsan Jafri was among the victims killed on that day. His wife Zakia Jafri later accused the then chief minister, now prime minister, Narendra Modi and other leaders and bureaucrats for allegedly orchestrating the riots. Following an investigation, everyone including Modi was given clean chit by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team. This matter is under challenge in the apex court.

Sandhi and Mody need the paper book for their appeal petitions through which they have challenged the order of trial court which acquitted 36 accused and convicted 24. These women have challenged the acquittal of 36 accused and have sought enhancement of 13 convicts who have been awarded less than 10 years of jail.

Besides, they have also challenged the observations of the trial court which said that the massacre was not part of a larger conspiracy. Gujarat government has not filed any appeal in the high court.