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Last Updated: Monday, 18 June 2007, 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK
Hindus 'guilty of Muslim deaths'
By Amarnath Tewary, Patna

Hindus at Babri Mosque in 1992
The riots were sparked by the controversy over Ayodhya
A court in India has convicted 14 Hindus of mass killings of Muslims during some of the country's bloodiest religious rioting nearly 20 years ago.

The men were found guilty of killing and burying 116 Muslims in Bhagalpur in the northern state of Bihar in 1989.

More than 1,000 people died in the riots, which came after Hindus marched at the flashpoint holy site of Ayodhya.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar promised justice to Bhagalpur victims when he came to power in 2005.

Acquittals

The court in Bhagalpur gave its verdicts in relation to rioting in the village of Logai on 27 October, 1989. It reserved sentencing until 27 June.

Two of those found guilty were policemen. One person convicted is still being sought by police.

Twenty four people were charged in the case. Six have since died and four are still on the run.

Rioters in Logai were found to have killed Muslims and then buried their bodies in a field, before planting vegetables to hide the graves.

Rioting in Bhagalpur went on for several weeks and are some of the most infamous cases of anti-Muslim violence in Indian history.

Over the years courts in Bihar have heard 152 cases relating to the killings, acquitting the accused in 119 of them.

Many of those convicted in the other 32 cases were given life sentences. Most have appealed.

Ayodhya has been at the centre of much of India's religious violence over the years.

When Hindu hardliners destroyed the Babri mosque in the northern town in 1992, rioting around the country claimed an estimated 2,000 lives.




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