The Ahmedabad Court deferred the judgement till Friday on the quantum of sentence for the 24 convicts in the Gulberg massacre case.
During the hearing, the defence said that the eight witnesses have not been able to recognize the convicts and on this basis, minimum punishment should be given.
Defence lawyer Abhay Bhardawaj said that the accused should be given a chance to reform as they don’t have past criminal records.
The prosecution argued for life imprisonment, if not capital punishment, for all the accused, calling it a “rarest of the rare” case. It argued for equal punishment for all the 24 accused, saying it was a case of mass murder.
Those convicted include Meghji Chaudhary, a former Congress councillor, who joined the BJP in 2014, and VHP leader Atul Vaidya. Both have been convicted of lesser offences and not murder.
The massacre was one of the worst single incidents in the days-long riots in Gujarat that left more than 1,000 people dead. The incident came a day after a coach of the Sabarmati Express was burnt near Godhra train station on February 27, 2002 in which 59 Hindu activists were killed.
Zakia Jafri, wife of Ehsan Jafri, had termed the judgment “half justice” and said she would challenge it in higher courts.