Special court sentences 11 to death for Godhra arson

NEW DELHI Tue Mar 1, 2011 4:49pm IST

An Indian security personnel stands guard outside the Sabarmati central jail in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad February 25, 2011. REUTERS/Amit Dave

An Indian security personnel stands guard outside the Sabarmati central jail in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad February 25, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Amit Dave

Related Topics

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A special court on Tuesday sentenced to death 11 people for setting fire to a train in Godhra in 2002, lawyers said, an act that led to some of the worst religious riots in the country since independence.

The Sabarmati Express was carrying Hindu devotees returning from the site of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya. More than 2,500 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in the subsequent riots in Gujarat.

Critics say the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which rules Gujarat, did little to stop the violence and many believe the riots led to the defeat of the BJP in the 2004 general elections.

The court last week found 31 accused guilty of conspiracy to torch the train, a judgement that seemed to back the BJP's stance arson was planned to spark off riots. Opponents say the fire was accidental and was used as an excuse for the violence.

The death sentences must be confirmed by a higher court.

Another 20 people were sentenced to life imprisonment, prosecutor J.M. Panchal told reporters outside the courtroom.

"The prosecution case has been vindicated," Jainarayan Vyas, a spokesman for the Gujarat government, told CNN-IBN television.

Following the riots, the United States refused to issue a visa to Narendra Modi, Gujarat's business-friendly chief minister. The Supreme Court condemned his government as "modern-day Neros" who allowed killings with impunity.

Many human rights groups say the riots have been used by Islamists to recruit Indian Muslims to militant groups. The Indian Mujahideen, a local militant group, has cited these riots for the several bombings it has claimed.

(Reporting by C. J. Kuncheria)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Top News

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Diwali Glitter

Diwali Glitter

Gold sales jump about 20 pct for Diwali - trade body  Full Article 

Microsoft Earnings

Microsoft Earnings

Microsoft sales beat Street hopes, cloud profits up.  Full Article 

Canada Shooting

Canada Shooting

Canada Parliament gunman had planned to travel to Syria - police.  Full Article 

New World Bank Rival

New World Bank Rival

Three major nations absent as China launches World Bank rival in Asia  Full Article 

Assault on Pires?

Assault on Pires?

ISL probes allegation of assault on Pires  Full Article 

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

Mali becomes sixth West African nation hit by Ebola.  Full Article 

Climate Deal

Climate Deal

EU strikes compromise to set new climate target.  Full Article 

Kalki Interview

Kalki on Margarita

Kalki on her role in “Margarita, With a Straw”  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage