A court in India Thursday convicted 24 people accused of participating in the 2002 communal riots in the state of Gujarat. More than a thousand people — a majority of them Muslim — are believed to have been killed over a three-day period.
Eleven of the suspects were indicted on murder charges for the incident known as the Gulbarg Society massacre, in which 69 people (including prominent politician Ehsan Jafri) were murdered inside a residential complex, the Indian Express reported. The remaining 13 were convicted of lesser crimes, while 36 others accused — including a local member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — were acquitted.
The three-day riots were one of the worst instances of Hindu-Muslim violence since India’s independence, and the controversy surrounding them has dogged India’s current Prime Minister Narendra Modi — the chief minister of Gujarat state during the riots — for more than a decade. Modi has been absolved of blame by multiple courts, but many continue to accuse him of not doing enough to stop the incitement of violence against Muslims. The U.S. government in 2005 denied Modi a visa over his alleged role in the riots, but reinstated it just before he became Prime Minister in 2014.
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