Indian Court Convicts 31 Hindus for Muslim Killings

Posted November 9th, 2011 at 12:50 pm (UTC-5)
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A court in India has convicted 31 Hindus and sentenced them to life in prison for killing dozens of Muslims nearly a decade ago, in one of the country's worst outbreaks of sectarian violence.

A judge handed down the guilty verdicts Wednesday, while acquitting 41 other people.

Rights activists said this is the first time in decades so many people in India have been convicted in a case of sectarian violence. They added that those freed in similar cases should be interrogated and convicted as soon as possible.

A group of 33 Muslims who had sought shelter in a house were burned to death after a mob set fire to a building in Gujarat state in 2002.

The incident was part of a wave of anti-Muslim rioting in which more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed.

The rioting followed a train fire that killed 59 Hindu pilgrims. Earlier this year, a court sentenced 11 people to death and 20 to life in prison for involvement in that incident.