Gujarat: 14 defendants acquitted in Muslim massacre
The court granted 11 defendants the benefit of the doubt, and found no clear evidence in the case of the three others. In all, 31 people had been convicted in connection with the death of 33 Muslims burnt to death in a house where they had sought shelter during a riot by Hindus.
Ahmedabad (AsiaNews) – A court in Ahmedabad upheld appeals by 14 defendants accused in connection with the mass killing of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. The 14 had been convicted five years ago over the death of 33 Muslims burnt alive.
"Out of the 14 acquitted, the bench granted benefit of doubt to 11, while it said it did not find evidence against three others," said defence lawyer N L Jain after the hearing.
In total 31 people were tried in this case. The court upheld the convictions of the other 17 who ewre sentenced to life in prison in the 2011 trial.
The victims had crowded into a small house in the village of Sardarpura seeking refuge during a wave of anti-Muslim violence by Hindus that swept across Gujarat in February 2002 after a fire on the Sabarmati Express in Godhra burnt alive 59 Hindu pilgrims.
Over the following three months, more than a thousand Muslims were massacred in various cities of Gujarat.
Then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was blamed for turning a blind eye to the violence, and for doing nothing afterwards.
Although a court dismissed all charges against him in 2012, India’s current prime minister is still dogged by criticism over his handling of the affair.