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31 found guilty in deadly 2002 train arson in India

By Sumnima Udas, CNN
A file picture from February 28, 2002, showing the burnt out train coach. The arson attack sparked widespread riots.
A file picture from February 28, 2002, showing the burnt out train coach. The arson attack sparked widespread riots.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 63 others are acquitted because of lack of evidence
  • The torching of the train killed more than 50, mostly Hindu pilgrims
  • It sparked days of rioting in which most Muslims were killed
  • India takes special security steps ahead of the verdict
RELATED TOPICS
  • India
  • Gujarat
  • Arson

New Delhi, India (CNN) -- An Indian court in the western state of Gujarat has convicted 31 of the 94 people charged with conspiracy and murder for setting fire to a passenger train in 2002 which triggered widespread religious violence, resulting in the death of more than 1,000 people.

Sixty-three of the accused, including one of the main conspirators, were acquitted Tuesday due to lack of evidence, prosecutors said.

A suspected Muslim mob attacked the Sabarmati Express near the town of Godhra on 27 February, 2002, killing more than 50 people, most of whom were Hindu pilgrims.

The Hindu pilgrims were returning from the north Indian town of Ayodhya where they had been demanding that the government build a temple on the ruins of a 16th century mosque.

The train fire sparked days of rioting in which more than a thousand people, mostly Muslims, were killed.

The cause of the train fire has long been disputed.

Special security arrangements were made throughout the state ahead of the sensitive verdict to maintain peace.

Indian authorities have also imposed restrictions on broadcasting video or photographs of the original carnage on the day of the verdict.

So far, no violence has been reported following the verdict.

 
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