Death penalty for 11 in India train burning case

March 2, 2011 - 0:0

AHMADABAD (AP)– An Indian court sentenced 11 people to death Tuesday after finding them guilty of setting a train fire that killed 60 Hindu nationalists nine years ago and triggered one of India's worst outbursts of communal violence.

Judge P.R. Patel last week convicted 31 people of being part of a criminal conspiracy that led to the deaths of 60 people when a Sabarmati Express train coach packed with Hindu pilgrims was set on fire in western Gujarat state in 2002.
The court on Tuesday sentenced the other 20 people convicted in the case to life imprisonment, prosecutor J.M. Panchal said.
Those convicted have 90 days appeal their sentence.
About 1,000 people were killed after the fire when groups of Hindus rampaged through Muslim neighborhoods and towns in Gujarat from February to April 2002. Most of the dead were Muslims.
The religious violence was among India's worst since its independence from Britain in 1947. The state government, which has been controlled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, has been accused by the opposition and media of not doing enough to stop the violence and of even stoking it. Gujarat officials deny that.