Godhra train burning: Police arrest accused who was on the run for 16 years

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AHMEDABAD: On the run for the last 16 years, an accused in the 2002 Godhra train carnage was on Tuesday arrested by the Gujarat Police, an official said.

Yakub Pataliya (63) was arrested from Godhra by a team of B Division police in the town after they received a tip-off that he was spotted in a locality this morning, the official said.

“During patrolling, a team of Godhra B Division police received information about the presence of the accused. He was arrested soon after,” the official said.

He will be handed over to the Special Investigation Team (SIT), which is investigating the case, the official said.

Pataliya is accused of being a part of the mob that torched the coaches of Sabarmati Express near Godhra railway station on February 27, 2002, killing 59 kar sevaks and triggering state-wide riots.

An FIR was registered against him in September 2002 and he faces charges under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 143 and 149 (unlawful assembly), 147 and 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapons), 332 and 352 (causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 153 A (causing enmity among members of different religious g groups), among others as well as certain sections of the Railways Act.

“He had been evading arrest ever since,” police said.

Pataliya’s brother, Kadir Pataliya, was also arrested in 2015, and he died while being in jail while undergoing trial. His other brother, Ayub Pataliya, is serving life imprisonment in Vadodara Central Jail.

In a judgement passed in October 2017, the Gujarat High Court had commuted the death sentence of 11 to life imprisonment, while upholding the life sentence of 20 other convicts.

A trial court had convicted 31 and acquitted 63 accused. The high court had upheld the acquittals.

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