Daylife/AP Photo used by permission
An Indian court found 31 people guilty on Wednesday of killing 33 Muslims during riots in Gujarat state in 2002.
The trial in a court in Gujarat, followed an investigation, ordered by the Supreme Court, into the events that took place on March 1, 2002. On that evening, a mob of Hindu rioters surrounded houses belonging to Muslims in Sardarpura village in the district of Mehsana and set them on fire, burning dozens of people alive, including men, women and children.
Killings, arson and looting continued throughout the night, with attackers burning shops and houses owned by Muslims. Most of the Muslim families left the village after the episode.
The rioting followed the burning of a train carrying Hindu pilgrims in a Muslim-dominated area in which 59 passengers were killed. The train attack incited widespread riots across Gujarat for several weeks. More than 1,000 people, primarily Muslims, were killed in the riots.
The violence attracted widespread condemnation about the ineffectiveness of Gujarat’s state government. The lack of immediate prosecutions after the riots prompted the National Human Rights Commission to file a case in the Supreme Court for special investigation…
The court also acquitted 42 in the rioting. Concerning the large number of acquittals, Teesta Setalvad, an activist who represents riot victims said she and others representing the victims will speak to the victims’ families to discuss a possible appeal.
The 31 people convicted were sentenced to life in prison and fined $1,000 each.
Sounds like the Old Days in God’s Country – when Black Americans were lynched for the crime of being Black. And state and federal politicians in charge of India reacted to protect the lives of ordinary Indians who happen to be Muslim just about as slow as molasses-foot Congress ever did.