New Delhi, January 28: Considering their pending appeals, the Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to 14 persons convicted of murder and arson in a 2002 Gujarat riots case. The convicts, held guilty for their role in the Sardarpura massacre, have been barred from visiting the state of Gujarat. The district authorities in Madhya Pradesh's Indore and Jabalpur have been tasked to arrange "social and spiritual work" for them.

In Sardarpura, a village in North Gujarat, 33 Muslims were burnt alive on March 1, 2002. The attack was carried out by a frenzied mob to avenge the burning of a train in Godhra which was bringing back karsevaks from Uttar Pradesh's Ayodhya. A lower court had held the 14 men guilty of organising pogrom against the minority community members in Sardarpura. Nanavati-Mehta Commission Report Gives Clean Chit to The Then Narendra Modi-Led Gujarat Government.

Update on SC Order

Out of the 14 released on bail, one set of convicts would be sent to Indore, while others would be dispatched to Jabalpur. The Bhopal Legal Services Authority has been directed by the court to suggest employment options for them.

The post-Godhra riots in Gujarat had wreaked havoc for nearly three days after coaches of the Sabarmati Express was burnt on February 27, 2002. A total of 58 Hindu karsevaks were killed in the train burning incident, which led to riots in all parts of Gujarat.

The riots, which largely turned into an anti-Muslim pogrom, led to the death of over 1,000 persons as per the official records. The then state government headed by Narendra Modi had drawn flak for allegedly adopting inaction to control the violence. Modi, however, was later given a clean chit by the Nanavati-Mehta Commission appointed to probe the allegations levelled against the state.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jan 28, 2020 12:30 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website