An Indian courtroom on Thursday acquitted 69 Hindus, consisting of a former minister from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), of the murder of eleven Muslims in the course of communal riots inside the western country of Gujarat in 2002.
The killings passed off in Ahmedabad on Feb 28, 2002, a day after a suspected Muslim mob set hearth to a teach sporting Hindu pilgrims, placing off one among independent India’s worst outbreaks of religious bloodshed.A general of 86 Hindus had been accused of the killings in the Naroda Gam district of Ahmedabad, 17 of whom died for the duration of trial. All the accused have been unfastened on bail.
“We have been announcing from the primary day that they have been framed,” defence legal professional Chetan Shah, who represented eighty two of the accused, stated. “Some of the accused had been now not present on the scene at the day of the incident.”
Shamshad Pathan, who represented the sufferers, said they might assignment the court’s selection in a better courtroom.
“Justice has eluded the sufferers over again. We will take a look at the grounds on which the court has acquitted the accused folks,” Pathan stated.
Those acquitted consist of Maya Kodnani, a former minister of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP, who changed into a lawmaker at the time of the riots, former Bajrang Dal chief Babu Bajrangi, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Jaydeep Patel.Bajrang Dal and VHP are Hindu nationalist agencies and feature close hyperlinks to the BJP.
Kodnani turned into also an accused in a case wherein 97 human beings have been killed within the 2002 riots. She became convicted but later acquitted by way of a better court.
At least 1,000 human beings, mostly Muslims, had been killed across Gujarat in the 2002 riots. Activists placed the toll at over two times that number.
Critics accused Modi, who changed into chief minister at the time, of failing to shield Muslims. Modi denied the allegations and a Supreme Court-ordered research determined no proof to prosecute him.