Ahmedabad: The special SIT court hearing the 2002 Gulberg Society massacre is expected on Monday to fix the date for pronouncing the quantum of punishment for 24 convicted in connection with the killing of 69 people including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri.
After arguments on the quantum of sentence came to an end with the final submission by prosecution today, the special SIT court Judge P B Desai adjourned the hearing to June 13, when he is expected to fix the date for handing out the quantum of punishment.
During arguments, special public prosecutor and SIT counsel R C Kodekar submitted various Government Resolutions regarding the compensation to be given to the survivors and relatives of victims of Gulberg.
However, the court was not fully convinced with the submissions and said that there exists no straight jacket formula to decide about the compensation in such cases.
"Compensation to whom? On what basis? To what extent? It's not as simple as you are demanding. How long we will drag this case?" asked the judge.
Demanding harsher punishment, Kodekar told the court that the case falls in the category of "rarest of rare" and the quantum of punishment should serve as a message to the society that such acts will not be tolerated.
Earlier on Monday, prosecution had sought death penalty for all the 24 people convicted for the gruesome killings. The defence lawyers had however sought lenient punishment for the guilty.
Today, the prosecution was given a chance to counter arguments put up by the defence counsel.
To emphasise his view about giving stricter punishment, Kodekar told the court that those involved in the ghastly act of killing the residents of Gulberg were either known to them or their neighbours, not terrorists.
"There is difference between a terrorist act and an act of murder by the neighbours. Yakub Memon, Afzal Guru and Kasab were either terrorists or supporters of an alien country's notions. In this case, I can say that 'Bhai ne bhai ko mara' (brother killed his brother). They were friends and neighbours of the victims," said Kodekar.
Though the court had already ruled out the conspiracy angle in its earlier judgement, Kodekar maintained that the convicts had decided to kill the minority community residents of Gulberg "from the very first moment".
"Witnesses said that the mob was chanting two slogans "Jai Shri Ram and "Kill Muslims". They surrounded the society from all sides. It shows that they have already made up their minds to kill Muslims" submitted Kodekar, who urged the court to award punishment of life until death, if not the capital punishment, to the convicts.