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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 March 2006, 17:25 GMT 18:25 UK
Sentencing in Gujarat Hindu death
By Rajeev Khanna
BBC News, Ahmedabad

Godhra train
The fire and death of 59 Hindus in the train sparked off the riots
A court in India's western Gujarat state has convicted nine people for the killing of a Hindu man during the 2002 religious riots in the state.

The court sentenced the main accused to 10 years in prison while eight others were given a year-and-half in jail.

At least 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in the widespread riots which broke out after a fire in a train claimed the lives of 59 Hindus.

The state government has been accused of doing little to stop the violence.

Stones and bombs

Additional sessions judge Sonia Gokani held nine of the accused guilty for the killing of a Hindu man and for the injuries of one other.

Godhra train
More than 1,000 people were killed in the riots

The judge sentenced the main accused - Mustaq Ahmed Sheikh - to 10 years in jail and also fined him 5,000 rupees ($100).

Eight other accused were given a year-and-a-half in prison.

The court acquitted 25 people in this case for want of sufficient evidence against them.

The case relates to an incident during the 2002 religious riots in Gujarat.

On 12 April, there was a clash between a group of Hindus and Muslims, in Danilimda locality, in the state's commercial capital, Ahmedabad.

The two sides threw stones and petrol bombs at each other. It was during this clash that Mustaq Ahmed Sheikh opened fire on the crowd.

One Hindu was killed and another was wounded in the firing.

The state administration, led by the right-wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, has been accused of doing little to stop the violence which swept the state or bring the rioters to justice.


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