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India court convicts 32 for crimes during Gujarat riots

An Indian court in Ahmedabad, Gujarat's main city, on Wednesday convicted 32 individuals for their roles in the deaths of 95 people during the 2002 Gujarat riots [JURIST news archive]. Among the convicted [AP report] was Maya Kodnani, the minister of education and child welfare in the Gujarat [official website] government, who was arrested in 2009 on charges of murder and criminal conspiracy. She resigned from her office when she was arrested but remained as the member of the state's legislative assembly. The riots began following the death of 60 Hindus in a fire aboard a train for which Muslims were blamed. The riots resulted in death of more than 2,000 people, mostly Muslims. With the conviction, the court acquitted 29 other defendants. The court is expected to announce the sentences on Friday.

This is not the first time individuals have been convicted of crimes committed during the 2002 riots. In April a trial court in Gujarat convicted [JURIST report] 23 individuals on charges of murder, conspiracy, rioting, unlawful assembly, attempted murder and destruction of evidence for participating in the killing of 23 Muslims, 18 of which were women. Another 23 defendants were acquitted for the lack of evidence. Last November another 31 people [JURIST report] were convicted of murder, arson and rioting while charges criminal conspiracy were dropped by the court. While all of the convicted were sentenced to life, charges against 42 other defendants were dropped.

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