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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 October 2007, 16:57 GMT
Hindus jailed over Gujarat riots
Violent demonstrations in Ahmedabad followed the burning of the Godhra train
The riots were some of the bloodiest in Indian history
A court in India's Gujarat state has sentenced eight people to life in jail for murder and other crimes committed during religious riots in 2002.

The men, all Hindus, were found guilty of burning seven Muslims to death. Three were also found guilty of rape.

Three others were convicted of lesser crimes and jailed for three years each.

At least 1,000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed in the riots, which were among India's bloodiest since partition in 1947.

Hard-liners

Those found guilty by the sessions court in the western city of Godhra included leaders of the hard-line movement, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP, Hindu World Council).

Chandradeep Parmar, a member of the right-wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was also convicted.

There were 40 defendants - 29 were acquitted by the court.

The trial related to an attack on the family of a Muslim man, Sheikh Firoz Bhai, in the village of Eral in Panchmahal district on 2 March 2002.

Firoz Bhai, who works as a driver, survived as he was not at home when the attack took place.

The attackers burnt alive his wife, daughter, niece, parents and maternal grandparents.

Firoz Bhai told the BBC the court's punishment was inadequate and he would appeal.

The Gujarat government, led by BJP, was heavily criticised for failing to protect the state's Muslims during the rioting.

Violence broke out after 59 Hindus died in a blaze on a train at Godhra, allegedly after it was attacked by a Muslim mob.

Although official figures put deaths during the rioting at more than 1,000, independent groups place the number closer to 2,000.

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