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14 convicted in Guj riots case granted bail, SC orders them do social service

The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to 14 people convicted in a 2002 Gujarat riots case. The bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde has further asked the convicts to do social service during the duration of the bail.

Seventeen people convicted in a 2002 Gujarat riots case have been granted bail on the condition that they will shift to neighbouring Madhya Pradesh and do community service. The convicts, who were serving life terms for burning alive 33 Muslims, have to do “social and spiritual services”, said the court on Tuesday.

A Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice SA Bobde asked the Madhya Pradesh administration to find them work and divided the convicts into two groups. One group will stay in Indore and the other in Jabalpur, said the three judges.

District legal authorities in Indore and Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh have been asked to ensure that the convicts do six hours of community service daily. The state legal services authority has also been asked to file a compliance report and also regularly report on their conduct.

The case involves the massacre of 33 Muslims at Sardarpura village in the riots that swept through Gujarat in the aftermath of the death of Hindu train passengers on Sabarmati Express in Godhra on February 27, 2002. The Muslims, hiding in a house, were burnt alive by a mob.

The Gujarat High Court had convicted 17 in the case and acquitted 14.

At least 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in the three-day violence.

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