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Indian court convicts 32 Hindus for roles in deadly 2002 riots

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Sept. 3 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

AHMADABAD, India — An Indian court convicted a former state government minister and 31 other people Wednesday in connection with deadly anti-Muslim riots that shook the western state of Gujarat in 2002.

The violence, which killed more than 1,100 people, almost all Muslims, began after a train fire on Feb. 27, 2002, that killed 60 Hindu pilgrims. Hindu mobs, convinced Muslims set the fire, rampaged through towns and villages burning Muslim homes and businesses.

Rights groups and survivors have accused the state government, controlled by the Hindu right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, of not doing enough to stop the violence and even stoking it.

The convictions Wednesday, on charges ranging from rioting to murder, stemmed from an attack in Naroda Patiya, a small industrial town on the outskirts of Ahmadabad, Gujarat's capital, that killed 95 people.

Those convicted included Maya Kodnani, a state legislator at the time who later became minister of education and child welfare in the Gujarat government. She was arrested in 2009 on charges of murder and criminal conspiracy and has been in prison since.