Life terms over India riots

Eleven Hindus are sentenced for gang-rape and murders during violence in Gujarat.

    Bilkis Bano's case has been regarded as central to providing justice to other victims of the riots [AFP]

    "The court handed life sentence to 11 of the accused and three years for the policeman," Rajendra Shirodkar, a defence lawyer told news agencies.
     
    Horrifying crimes
     
    Bilkis Bano, a young Muslim mother was gang-raped when she was three months pregnant, her lawyers say. 
     
    Her attackers also burned to death 12 members of her family, including her three-year-old daughter.
     
    In 2004, the supreme court moved the trial to India’s financial capital in response to pleas that a fair trial was impossible in Gujarat, where lawyers believed witnesses could be forced to change their evidence.
     
    Human rights groups say about 2,500 people were killed in the riots.
     
    Hindu groups blamed a Muslim mob for the train fire, but a subsequent inquiry panel said it was an accident.
     
    The Gujarat government, which is ruled by the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, was condemned by the supreme court for failing to stop the riots.
     
    The state government has been accused of delaying prosecuting those accused of crimes during the riots.
     
    More than 4,250 cases were filed with state authorities but police dropped more than half, citing lack of evidence.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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