Indian court hands out 31 life sentences for race riot murders
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
A court in India has convicted 31 Hindus of murdering 33 Muslims during by burning down the building they were sheltering in. The convicts were given life sentences, while lack of evidence saw more than 40 others cleared.,
The case dates back to 2002, whenand 60 Hindus died. Muslims were blamed and Hindus seeking revenge rioted in predominantly Muslim areas. Over 1,000 died, mostly Muslims. 28 died inside a house in , which was torched whilst they sought refuge inside it, with five more dying later from injuries sustained.
Since then, the tale has had many legal twists.
Gujarat's local government launched an inquiry which declared the train fire was the culmination of "conspiracy" and fueled by 140 litres of petrol, and cleared the state's Hindu Chief Minister— who had faced accusations of complicity in the ensuing riots — of wrongdoing. A federal government probe followed, reaching the conclusion the railway fire was unintentional and probably sparked by a cooking accident as Hindu pilgrims returned from . Ayodhya, too, has seen large race riots against Muslims after a breakaway group of Hindus destroyed a mosque in 1992 . Thousands died.
Thegot involved in 2003. The court ruled Gujarat had failed to provide a suitable criminal response. Nine cases were ordered to be fast-tracked, including the Sardarpura fire case. A Special Investigating Team was formed at the court's direction. Two of the accused have died in the course of the trial, with the convictions following guilty verdicts in February on 31 suspects accused of murdering the train fire victims; 63 were exonerated by the court.
As well as murder, the 31 Hindus have been convicted of attempted murder, arson, rioting, and criminal conspiracy. They can appeal.
- Associated Press. "India jails 31 Hindus for life for killing Muslims" — , November 9, 2011
- "India court jails 31 for life over 2002 Gujarat riots" — , November 9, 2011