A Gujarat court has acquitted all 26 Hindu men accused of gang rape and murder of more than a dozen Muslims in separate incidents in Kalol during Muslim genocide in 2002, for want of evidence in the 20-year-old case.
Of the total 39 accused, 13 died during the case pendency and the trial against them was abated, PTI news agency reported.
The accused men were part of a Hindutva mob that went on a rampage in the anti-Muslim riots that broke out on March 1, 2002. An FIR was lodged against the accused at Kalol police station on March 2, 2002.
The court of Additional Sessions Judge Leelabhai Chudasama at Halol in Panchmahal district on Friday found contradictions in the witness accounts provided by the prosecution, despite the examination of 190 witnesses and 334 documentary pieces of evidence. As a result, the court concluded that the evidence did not support the prosecution’s argument, PTI reported.
During the violence, a Muslim man who was injured in police firing and being rushed to the hospital was burnt alive by the accused men along with a tempo. The men also attacked and killed another Muslim man coming out of a mosque and burnt his body inside the mosque.
As per the FIR, in another incident, 38 Muslims fleeing Delol village and coming towards Kalol were attacked and 11 of them were burnt alive. A Muslim woman was gang raped when she and others were trying to escape.
About 3000 Muslims were killed during Gujarat genocide. Some 20,000 Muslim homes and businesses and 360 places of worship were destroyed, and roughly 150,000 people were displaced.