India: more convictions in Gujarat riots

An Indian court in Ahmedabad, Gujarat's main city, on Aug. 29 convicted 32 individuals for their roles in the deaths of 95 people during the 2002 Gujarat riots. Among the convicted was Maya Kodnani, the minister of education and child welfare in the Gujarat government, who was arrested in 2009 on charges of murder and criminal conspiracy. She resigned from her office when she was arrested but remained as the member of the state's legislative assembly. The riots began following the death of 60 Hindus in a fire aboard a train for which Muslims were blamed. The riots resulted in death of more than 2,000 people, mostly Muslims. With the conviction, the court acquitted 29 other defendants. The court is expected to announce the sentences imminently.

This is not the first time individuals have been convicted of crimes committed during the 2002 riots. In April a trial court in Gujarat convicted 23 individuals on charges of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, rioting, unlawful assembly, and destruction of evidence for participating in the killing of 23 Muslims, 18 of which were women. Another 23 defendants were acquitted for the lack of evidence. Last November another 31 people were convicted of murder, arson and rioting while charges criminal conspiracy were dropped by the court. While all of the convicted were sentenced to life, charges against 42 other defendants were dropped.

From Jurist, Aug. 29. Used with permission.