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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 March 2008, 11:17 GMT
Fresh inquiry into Gujarat riots
By Sanjoy Majumder
BBC News, Delhi

Gujarat religious riots
The riots left at least 1,000 dead - mostly Muslims
India's Supreme Court has ordered a fresh investigation into some of the worst cases during anti-Muslim riots in the western state of Gujarat in 2002.

The court appointed a special police team to examine 10 cases of violence.

More than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died in the riots sparked off by an attack on a train carrying Hindu pilgrims, killing 59 of them.

The state's Hindu nationalist BJP government was heavily criticised for doing little to stop the violence.

Special team

The Supreme Court order follows consistent appeals by the victims' families and human rights groups which have accused the state government of indifference and even of conspiring to protect the accused.

Now the court has set up a special police team, consisting of three officers from the state and two from outside, to re-examine the cases and submit its report in three months.

"We had asked for an independent probe by a body such as the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation)," said Teesta Setalvad, a rights activist representing the victims.

"The court has now appointed a special investigation team consisting of three Gujarat police officers and two very senior officers from outside the state," she said.

Gujarat's Hindu nationalist government, which has twice been re-elected to office since the riots, has accepted the court order.

More than 20 people have been convicted for involvement in riots in special courts set up outside the state but many others have yet to be brought to justice.

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