Court rules 32 guilty over Indian killings

Ex-Gujarat minister and Hindu activist among those convicted over role in massacre of Muslims during the 2002 riots.

    Court rules 32 guilty over Indian killings
    Hardline Hindu groups went on a rampage in Muslim neighbourhoods in towns and villages across Gujarat in 2002 [EPA]

    A court in the western Indian state of Gujarat has convicted 32 people for their involvement in the 2002 riots .

    The Ahmedabad court also acquitted 29 others on Wednesday in the case known as the Naroda Patiya massacre.

    Among those convicted are former minister Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi, a former leader of the hardline Hindu group Bajrang Dal.

    Nearly 100 people were killed in the Muslim-dominated Naroda Patiya area of Ahmedabad in one of the worst incidents of the 2002 riots.

    In some of India's worst inter-faith clashes since independence in 1947, about 2,000 people died in a wave of anti-Muslim unrest triggered by a train fire in which 60 Hindu pilgrims were burnt alive.

    The Hindu pilgrims on the train were returning from the town of Ayodhya, another flashpoint for religious unrest after a mosque was destroyed in 1992 by Hindus, leading to separate riots that killed thousands of people, mostly Muslims.

    Muslims were blamed for starting the train fire in the village of Godra.

    Hindu groups who pledged to take revenge went on the rampage through Muslim neighbourhoods in towns and villages across Gujarat in three days of violence following the incident.

    The government of Gujarat, which is still headed by Narendra Modi, a leader of the Hindu nationalist BJP, was accused by rights groups of tacitly supporting the rioters.

    No remorse

    Modi, Gujarat's chief minister since 2001, has always denied any wrongdoing in connection with the riots, but has never expressed any remorse or offered any apologies.

    A 2005 federal government inquiry concluded that the fire had been an accident - probably started by people cooking in one of the carriages - and was not the result of an attack.

    A commission of inquiry set up in 2008 by the Gujarat state government determined that it was the result of a conspiracy.

    A 2008 state inquiry exonerated Modi over the riots.

    A special investigation team (SIT) was set up by the Indian supreme court to investigate some of the most prominent riot cases.

    In November 2011, 31 people were sentenced to life in prison over the killings of 33 Muslims in a single house during the riots.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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