News

    23 Convicted for Deadly 2002 Anti-Muslim Violence in India's Gujarat

    People charged in connection of setting a building on fire weep inside a police vehicle as they are taken to a prison after their hearing in a court at Mehsana, about 60 km (37 miles) north from the western Indian city of Ahmedabad. (File Photo - November
    People charged in connection of setting a building on fire weep inside a police vehicle as they are taken to a prison after their hearing in a court at Mehsana, about 60 km (37 miles) north from the western Indian city of Ahmedabad. (File Photo - November
    Anjana Pasricha

    In India, a court has convicted 23 people in connection with the killing of 23 Muslims during deadly religious riots that swept through Gujarat state in 2002. The massacre was investigated by a special team after allegations that the probe by state police was not impartial.

    A special court Monday found the 23 people guilty of setting fire to a house in Gujarat’s Ode village where a group of Muslims had taken shelter to protect themselves from rioting mobs.

    Twenty-three others were acquitted for lack of evidence. Most of those who stood trial are Hindus.

    The massacre took place a decade ago, when towns and villages in Gujarat were convulsed with riots that targeted Muslims homes and neighborhoods. The violence erupted after a train fire, blamed on Muslims, killed 60 Hindu pilgrims and prompted retaliation by Hindu mobs.
    The prosecutor, P.N. Parmar, called it a historic judgment in the mass killings in Ode village.

    “Nine children, nine women and five men burnt alive in this heinous crime,” he said.

    The sentences will be announced later. Defense lawyers say they will appeal the verdict.
    The massacre in Ode village is one of nine incidents into which the Supreme Court has ordered a special investigation, following allegations that the Gujarat police were not impartial in their probe into the deadly riots. About 1,000 Muslims died in the violence.
    This is the third judgment to be handed down in connection with the riots. In two separate judgments last year, 31 people were sentenced for burning 39 Muslims to death, while 31 Muslims were found guilty for setting fire to the train that killed the Hindu pilgrims.

    Gujarat is ruled by the Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. The state’s chief minister, Narendra Modi, has often been accused of not doing enough to stop the riots or bring the perpetrators to justice.

    After Monday’s verdict, senior BJP leader Balbir Punj said justice has been handed to the riot victims.

    “It is a victory for the people of Gujarat and it is a slap on the face of those people that [say] justice cannot be done in Gujarat,” said Punj.

    Although the 2002 violence tarnished Narendra Modi’s image, the controversial leader remains one of BJP’s top leaders. He has won state elections in Gujarat twice since the riots and hopes to play a larger role in national politics.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora