India's Supreme Court today granted bail to 14 of the 17 people convicted in the 2002 post-Godhra Sardarpura massacre case where 33 people were burnt alive.
The convicts will be split into two groups. One would be sent to Madhya Pradesh's Indore and the second to Jabalpur 500 km away, reports Hindustan Times.
The legal authorities in Indore and Jabalpur have been asked to arrange "social and spiritual work" while out on bail.
A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde granted the bail to the convicts.
The Gujarat High Court had earlier acquitted 14 of the accused and convicted 17 and ordered them life sentences in the 2002 riots case.
33 members of the minority community were burnt alive at Sardarpura village in Vijapur tehsil of Mehsana district on the night of February 28, 2002, following the Godhra train carnage the previous day in which 59 people, mainly "karsevaks" returning from Ayodhya, were killed.
The 33 dead, who had taken shelter in a "pucca" house to escape from the mob that attacked the community members, included 22 women. They were holed up inside the house that was set afire by the mob using petrol.
The Supreme Court-mandated Special Investigation Team had arrested 76 people in this case. Charges were framed against 73 in June 2009.
When the special fast track court that initially convicted 31 people in 2012, 10 years after the massacre, the conviction was hailed as one of the rare instances of the prosecution's success to prove a 2002 riots case.
Some of this sheen wore off four years later when the Gujarat High Court acquitted 14 of the 31 convicts. The high court ruled that the prosecution had failed the 'two-witness' test prescribed by the Supreme Court. According to this, at least two witnesses should have testified against an accused in a riot case for the court to convict him or her.