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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 August, 2004, 09:52 GMT 10:52 UK
Court orders Gujarat riot review
Gujarat riots
Gujarat victims still want justice
India's Supreme Court has ordered police in the state of Gujarat to review some 2,000 riot cases which were earlier dismissed as closed.

The court wants the police to decide whether any of the cases should be reinvestigated.

The cases relate to Hindu-Muslim riots two years ago in which more than 1,000 people died, most of them Muslims.

Rights groups say Gujarat's authorities did not do enough to stop the violence or bring the guilty to justice.

The Gujarat government denies the allegation.

Culprits 'not traced'

In its order, the Supreme Court called for the establishment of a cell headed by a senior police official to look into the circumstances in which the cases were closed.

Gujarat religious riots
Most of the victims in the riots were Muslims

In many cases the investigating officers said they could not trace the culprits.

There have been accusations that witnesses were threatened and forced to withdraw statements made to the police.

More than 4,000 cases were registered after the 2002 Gujarat riots.

But two years later, no one has been convicted and nearly half of the cases have been closed.

The Supreme Court has been highly critical of the Gujarat government's handling of the riot cases.

It has already ordered retrials in two riot cases, both of which will now be held in the neighbouring state of Maharashtra, after human rights groups petitioned the court saying that the victims could not expect a fair trial in Gujarat.

Key case

On Monday the Supreme Court named two new public prosecutors in the Best Bakery case, in which 12 Muslims were burnt alive by a Hindu mob in the town of Baroda.

Twenty-one Hindus were acquitted after many witnesses withdrew their evidence.

Later a key witness said she had lied in court, and had not testified against the accused because she had been threatened by senior Gujarati politicians.

The Gujarat riots deeply divided Hindus and Muslims living in the state and left a deep scar on the Muslim minority.

The violence began after a suspected Muslim mob attacked a train, killing nearly 60 Hindu passengers.

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