Indian court convicts 24 over anti-Muslim riots where 69 burned to death

 Indian-court-convicts-24-over-anti-Muslim-riots-where-69-burned-to-death. AHMEDABAD, India,  An Indian court has found 24 people guilty of involvement in the 2002 Gulbarg Society massacre in the city of Ahmedabad, where 69 people were hacked and burned to death by an anti-Muslim mob.

In 2002, anti-Muslim riots, seen here in a mob burning in India’s western city of Ahmedabad, consumed India’s Gujarat for three days. At least 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died in targeted attacks. On Thursday, a court in Ahmedabad found 24 people guilty of involvement in one incident in which 69 people were killed. File photo by Stringer/UPI | License Photo

The Ahmedabad court convicted 11 people of murder, while others were found guilty of lesser charges. About 36 others were acquitted. Sentencing is scheduled for Monday.

The 2002 riots in India’s Gujarat state left more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, dead. The riots were some of the worst since India’s independence from Britain in 1947 and began after a fire aboard a train killed 60 Hindu pilgrims.

Muslims were blamed for starting the fire and Hindu mobs seeking revenge rampaged through Muslim neighborhoods across Gujarat in riots that lasted for three days. Muslim men felt so threatened by the targeted attacks that many began to shave their traditional religious beards. Men were reportedly stripped of clothing to verify whether they were circumcised, as Muslim men generally are and Hindu men are not.

Thursday’s convictions are related to the dozens burned to death in the Gulbarg residential complex that was set ablaze by the mob.

In 2008, India’s Supreme Court appointed a Special Investigation Team to seek justice over the riots. Other cases have resulted in convictions. In 2012, more than 80 people received life imprisonment sentences for killing Muslims during the riots.

The Gulbarg Society massacre is one of 10 significant cases related to the Gujarat anti-Muslim riots being investigated by the Special Investigation Team.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was Gujarat’s chief minister at the time, was cleared of accusations he did not do enough to prevent the killings. The Ahmedabad court agreed with the Special Investigation Team’s assertion that Modi and his state government took all necessary steps to control law and order. The army was called during the riots and dozens of towns were placed on a curfew.

By Andrew V. Pestano