Indian Court Convicts 24 Over 2002 Gujarat Riots and Massacre

24-convicted-gujarat-riots

An Indian court convicted 11 suspects of murder and 13 of rioting and other charges Thursday in connection with the 2002 anti-Muslim riots, which led to the deaths of 69 Muslims in Gujarat in western India.

Special Court Judge P.B. Desai also acquitted 36 persons including the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s Bipin Patel owing to a lack of evidence. The sentencing will occur Monday, local newspaper the Hindu reported.

In 2002, a mob reportedly scaled the wall of the Gulberg housing society in the city of Ahmedabad and killed 69 Muslims including Ehsan Jafri, a lawmaker belonging to the Indian National Congress party. This was part of a series of Hindu-Muslim riots that took place in the state when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was its chief minister. The violence began when Muslims were initially blamed for the death of 59 Hindu pilgrims in a fire in February 2002.

The public began clapping their hands and thanked the judges once the verdict was passed, the Guardian reported.

“It has taken me 14 years to prove the crime committed against innocent Muslims,” S.M. Vohra, a lawyer for more than three dozen victims, told Reuters, “Justice will heal the wounds of the riot survivors.”

Yet, not everyone is happy with the decision. Jafri’s wife Zakia Jafri called the verdict “incomplete justice.”

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SOURCE: International Business Times, Mary Pascaline