69 Hindus who killed 11 Muslims in 2002 riots are exculpated by Indian court


NEW DELHI (Reuters) An Indian court ruled that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was accused of killing 11 Muslims during riots in western Gujarat state in 2002. It acquitted 69 Hindus, including the minister.

The killing took place in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002. This comes a day after a suspected Muslim mob set fire to a train carrying Hindu pilgrims, causing one of the worst religious bloodsheds in independent India.

A total of 86 Hindus were charged with the killings in Ahmedabad’s Narodagam district, 17 of whom died during the trial. All defendants were released on bail. Defense attorney Chetan Shah, who represents the 82 defendants, said, “From day one we said they were deceived. Some of the defendants were not at the scene of the incident on the day of the incident.”

The victim’s attorney, Shamshad Pathan, said he would appeal the court’s decision to a higher court.

“Justice has escaped the victim again. We will investigate why the court acquitted the defendant,” Pathan said.

Maya Kodnani, a former minister of his BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and MP at the time of the riots, Bab Bajrangi, former leader of Vajrang Dal, and Jaideep Patel, leader of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) was acquitted. The Bajrang Dal and VHP are Hindu nationalist groups with close ties to the BJP.

Kodnani was also the defendant in the 2002 riots in which he killed 97 people. Although she was convicted, she was later acquitted by the High Court.

The 2002 riots killed at least 1,000 of her people across Gujarat, most of them Muslims. Activists estimate that the toll will more than double for him. Critics accused then-Prime Minister Modi of failing to protect Muslims, an allegation he denied, and an investigation ordered by the Supreme Court found no evidence of criminal prosecution.

The court’s decision has sparked controversy and criticism from human rights groups and political leaders who argue that justice has not been served for the victims and their families. Some have also accused the Indian judicial system of bias against Muslims.