🔴 Haji Bilal, who was among the 11 persons to be awarded the death penalty by a special court in Ahmedabad in the case in 2011, was primarily accused of obstructing firefighters from attending to the burning S6 coach of the Sabarmati Express.

Bilal Ismail Abdul Majid alias Haji Bilal, 61, a convict of the 2002 Sabarmati train carnage in Godhra, died Friday morning at Vadodara’s SSG hospital, where he had been shifted from Vadodara Central Jail on November 22 after his health deteriorated in prison. Police handed over Bilal’s body to his son after completing the process for inquest by an Executive Magistrate and the autopsy Friday afternoon.

Bilal, who was among the 11 persons to be awarded the death penalty by a special court in Ahmedabad in the Godhra train carnage in 2011, was primarily accused of obstructing firefighters from attending to the burning S6 coach of the Sabarmati Express, which was carrying karsevaks returning from Ayodhya on February 27, 2002, at the Godhra railway station.

The fire had killed 59 passengers. The Gujarat High Court, in October 2017, had commuted the death sentence of 11 convicts to life imprisonment while upholding the punishment awarded by the special SIT court to 20 others.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, D Division, A V Rajgor, said, “Haji Bilal had been sentenced to life imprisonment and was lodged at Vadodara Central Jail. He had been undergoing treatment for an ailment for over four years. Even when he was on parole, he was under treatment. On November 22, his health deteriorated and he was brought to SSG hospital for treatment. He passed away today (Friday). We will be able to determine the exact cause of death only after the post mortem report is made available.”

Rajgor told The Indian Express that Bilal had been suffering from a heart ailment and regular hypertension. “He had been on oxygen support for some time even inside the jail and was granted parole on two occasions for his treatment and was on oxygen support at that time too. His burial will take place in his hometown, Godhra.”

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