In a tragic coincidence, Baitullah Ab Gaffar Teli, a 78-year-old
bangle seller, died in Godhra a week after his acquittal in the
2002 Sabarmati Express train burning case.
Baitullah Teli, who hails from Gonda
district of Uttar Pradesh, had booked a ticket to go to his home
town after his acquittal in the case. He was supposed to leave for
Gonda on March 03 but suffered heart attack on Tuesday night,
according to the media reports.
Godhra police officers said Teli was
taken to the Godhra Civil Hospital, where he succumbed to a heart
His dead body has been sent to Gonda
by car on Wednesday from the house of Maualna Husain Umarji, the
other accused, who was also acquitted in the case.
Abdul Gaffar Teli and the 62 others
acquitted in the carnage, including main accused Maulana Hussain
Umarji, were released on February 22, while 11 of the 31 convicted
were given the death sentence this Tuesday.
"Baitullah Teli was normal and very
happy after his acquittal. He was preparing for his journey to
Gonda, when he suffered the stroke at around 12 in the night on
Tuesday", Saeed Umarji told the media.
According to his neighbour Munawar
Fataki, Teli was from Lucknow and had come to Godhra about six
months before the incident.
Named accused number 69, Teli was acquitted by a fast track court
in Sabarmati Central Jail, nine years after his arrest in 2002.
Fataki said Teli’s family, which comprises his wife and two
married sons, stay in Gonda. Teli came to Godhra to sell bangles.
“He used to sell the famous glass bangles of Uttar Pradesh, and
stayed in a guest house near Signal Faliya. He would go back to UP
every month to bring the bangles,” said Fataki.
According to another accused who is
also been acquitted in the case, Teli was arrested by the police
after the train carnage during the curfew and around seven kms
from the place of incident.
"Teli was arrested along with 14
others and police. They claimed the accused were present at the place of
incident", he said to the media on the condition of anonymity.
Along with Teli, his
nephew Gulzar Ansari was also arrested by the police. He however
was released on bail because of ailment and had died