India sentences 11 to life in jail for 2002 massacre of Muslims

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Asia
Friday, 17 June 2016

A court in India has sentenced 11 Hindus to life in prison for their roles in the massacre of dozens of Muslims during riots in the state of Gujarat in 2002.

The court also sentenced 12 others to seven years in prison on Friday for killing 69 Muslims, who were hacked and burnt to death by a mob in a residential complex in the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat 14 years ago.

Another Hindu man earlier found guilty received a 10-year sentence.

Prosecutors had sought the death penalty for the 24 Hindu men, saying that those killed in the attack were all innocent people.

Some 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died in week-long violence that erupted in February 2002, following the death of 59 Hindu pilgrims in a train fire, which was initially blamed on Muslims.

The court described the Ahmedabad incident as the “darkest day in the history of civil society.”

The incident took place under now-Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s watch, who was Gujarat’s chief minister then.

Human rights organizations accused Modi of doing little to stop the violence. Modi was even denied a visa to enter the United States in 2005 over his alleged failure to stop the 2002 violence.

After he was elected premier in 2014, however, the ban on his entry to the US was revoked by the administration of US President Barack Obama.

Modi has denied any wrongdoing and a panel at India’s Supreme Court refused to prosecute him in 2013 due to insufficient evidence.

India, which has a population of 1.2 billion, is a country of diversity, where Hindus form the majority. India is also home to a large Muslim population, and sizable Christian and Buddhist minorities.

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