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Central & South Asia
Life terms over India riots
Eleven Hindus are sentenced for gang-rape and murders during violence in Gujarat.
Last Modified: 21 Jan 2008 14:21 GMT
Bilkis Bano's case has been regarded as central to providing justice to other victims of the riots [AFP]

An Indian court has jailed 11 people for life for gang-raping a pregnant Muslim woman and murdering her family during one of India’s worst riots in which hundreds, mostly Muslims, were killed.
 
The riots in 2002 in western Gujarat state were triggered after a mob set on fire a train carrying Hindu pilgrims.
A special court, which heard the case in Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra state, found 13 men guilty of a variety of crimes including rape, gang-rape, murder and destruction or falsification of evidence.
 
A policemen was also jailed for three years for falsifying evidence.
"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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