The Gujarat High Court on Friday upheld the life imprisonment awarded by a SIT court to 14 people for the massacre of 23 persons in a village during the 2002 riots.

A division bench of Justice Akil Qureshi and Justice B.N. Kariaay also upheld the sentence of seven years in jail to five others. It acquitted four others in the case.

On March 1, 2002, two days after the Godhra Sabarmati Express train burning left 57 persons dead, 23 persons were burnt to death in Pirwali Bhagol area of Ode village near Anand in central Gujarat.

It was one of the nine cases of major riot cases that were handed over to the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT).

In 2012, the SIT found 23 of 47 accused guilty and sought capital punishment. Seeking relief from the SIT court ruling, those held guilty approached the Gujarat High Court.