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Eight get life for Gujarat massacre

October 31, 2007

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NEW DELHI: An Indian court on Tuesday sentenced eight people to life in jail for their role in the massacre of Muslims during rioting in western Gujarat state five years ago, media reports said.

Another three people were given a jail term of three years in the same case related to the murder of seven people, of which two women were also gang-raped, the Press Trust of India reported.

“Eleven were convicted, rest 29 were released (acquitted). We will go to the high court (against the acquittals),” prosecution lawyer Siraj Malik told the NDTV news network.

The rioting — in which an estimated 2,000 people were killed — broke out after a Muslim mob was accused of torching a train, burning 59 Hindus alive.

An enquiry by the state-run railways later ruled the fire on the train which sparked the riots was an accident.

The state government, whose term expires in December, was widely accused of encouraging the bloodbath.

A television sting operation last week showed footage of right-wing Hindus boasting about taking part in the massacre and acknowledging state complicity in the violence.

Fifteen cases related to the riots are pending before the Supreme Court, while Gujarat’s high court has heard arguments over charges of mass murder and abetting rape against 63 people, including Gujarat’s Chief Minister Narendra Modi.—AFP