NEW DELHI — An Indian court has imprisoned 11 Hindus for life for the murder of dozens of Muslims during riots in Gujarat in 2002 that shook India at a time Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the state’s chief minister.
The court sentenced 12 other people to seven years in jail for arson and other charges during the disturbances, in which 69 Muslims were killed, while another defendant was handed a 10-year sentence, prosecutors said.
The massacre occurred during a series of religious riots that flared for two months in Gujarat and killed more than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims.
The court called the massacre the “darkest day” but rejected prosecutors’ demand to sentence the defendants to death, after ruling the attack was not planned.
A Hindu mob scaled the boundary wall of a housing complex in Ahmedabad — Gujarat’s largest city — in February 2002 before torching the homes in which Muslim families were trapped.
Among the victims were children and women who were burned to death.
The riots, among the worst since India’s independence from Britain in 1947, have dogged Mr Modi’s political career for years after he was accused of not doing enough to stop the violence.
Mr Modi, a Hindu, denies any wrongdoing and in 2013 a panel appointed by the Supreme Court said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him.
The violence also tainted Mr Modi’s international reputation even as he rose in power at home, culminating in his 2014 general election victory.
The United States revoked his visa in 2005 but allowed him to travel there again after his election victory.
Bakar-Eid being celebrated
POKHARA — The Muslim people people are celebrating their grand festival, Bakar Eid, with much fanfare today.
The festival which is to be continued for three days from today is also known as ‘Eid-Ul-Juha’. The Muslim community considers this as a festival of devotion.
Ali Miya Literary Foundation, Pokhara Chairperson and religious preacher Hanif Miya informed that the festival marked the beginning with the recitation of Islam scripture Nawaz at Idgaha of Pokhara in the early morning today.
The Muslim people who are almost 10,000 in number in Pokhara alone are marking the festival with much excitement, he added.
The Muslims visit the mosques, offer prayers to Allah, perform the Namaj prayers and exchange greetings each others on the occasion.Follow @gorkhapost