In­dian court ac­quits 36 ....

Pakistan Observer - - PAGE 07 -

dur­ing the riots. Cel­e­bra­tions erupted in the court room in Ahmed­abad after the ver­dicts were read out, with vic­tims and their fam­i­lies clap­ping and thank­ing the judge.

“I am happy 24 ac­cused were con­victed but sad that 36 oth­ers have been ac­quit­ted. This is in­com­plete jus­tice and I will fight till the end,” Zakia Jafri, whose hus­band was killed in the mas­sacre, told re­porters.

The mas­sacre was one of the sin­gle worst in­ci­dents of the days-long riots that swept across Gu­jarat and left more than 1,000 peo­ple dead in to­tal.

More than 300 wit­nesses gave ev­i­dence dur­ing the years-long trial that was de­layed for so long by pe­ti­tions and ap­peals that sev­eral of the orig­i­nal ac­cused died. Pros­e­cu­tors are seek­ing life in prison for all ac­cused of storm­ing the Gul­barg So­ci­ety com­plex and burn­ing and hack­ing to death Mus­lims who were hid­ing there.

The riots have long dogged Modi who as Gu­jarat chief min­is­ter was ac­cused of turn­ing a blind eye to the vi­o­lence, claims that he de­nies. The vi­o­lence was trig­gered by the death of 59 Hindu pil­grims and na­tion­al­ists in a train fire on Feb 27, 2002 that was ini­tially blamed on Mus­lims.—AFP/AP

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