NEW DELHI (Reuters) – An Indian court docket on Thursday acquitted 69 Hindus, together with a former minister from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Social gathering (BJP), of the homicide of 11 Muslims throughout communal riots within the western state of Gujarat in 2002.
The killings occurred in Ahmedabad on Feb. 28, 2002, a day after a suspected Muslim mob set hearth to a prepare carrying Hindu pilgrims, setting off certainly one of unbiased India’s worst outbreaks of non secular bloodshed.
A complete of 86 Hindus had been accused of the killings within the Naroda Gam district of Ahmedabad, 17 of whom died throughout trial. All of the accused had been free on bail.
“We’ve been saying from the primary day that they had been framed,” defence lawyer Chetan Shah, who represented 82 of the accused, mentioned. “A few of the accused weren’t current on the scene on the day of the incident.”
Shamshad Pathan, who represented the victims, mentioned they’d problem the court docket’s determination in a better court docket.
“Justice has eluded the victims as soon as once more. We are going to research the grounds on which the court docket has acquitted the accused individuals,” Pathan mentioned.
These acquitted embody Maya Kodnani, a former minister of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP, who was a lawmaker on the time of the riots, former Bajrang Dal chief Babu Bajrangi, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) chief Jaydeep Patel.
Bajrang Dal and VHP are Hindu nationalist teams and have shut hyperlinks to the BJP.
Kodnani was additionally an accused in a case wherein 97 individuals had been killed within the 2002 riots. She was convicted however later acquitted by a better court docket.
No less than 1,000 individuals, largely Muslims, had been killed throughout Gujarat within the 2002 riots. Activists put the toll at over twice that quantity.
Critics accused Modi, who was chief minister on the time, of failing to guard Muslims. Modi denied the allegations and a Supreme Courtroom-ordered investigation discovered no proof to prosecute him.