India: 21 Sentenced to Life in Prison in 2002 Killings

Source: The New York Times

An Indian court on Monday sentenced 21 Hindus to life imprisonment in the deaths of 11 members of a Muslim family during some of the country’s worst sectarian violence 10 years ago. The killings took place in 2002 in Visnagar, a town in Gujarat State. More than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed by Hindu mobs in the state after a train fire killed 60 Hindus who were returning from a pilgrimage. Muslims were blamed for the fire. Tens of thousands of people were left homeless as the rioters set fire to Muslim homes and businesses. The verdict on Monday was the second in nine cases of rioting and murder pending against hundreds of Hindu hard-liners. Last year, 31 Hindus were sentenced by the same court to life imprisonment for killing dozens of Muslims by setting a building on fire in the state’s Mehsana district. The courts are expected to issue verdicts in the remaining cases within a year as ordered by India’s top court. Indian courts are notorious for long delays.


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