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Judge P.B. Desai rejects demand for death penalty for defendants as prosecution failed to prove the charge of a criminal conspiracy.

Judge P.B. Desai rejects demand for death penalty for defendants as prosecution failed to prove the charge of a criminal conspiracy.The religious riots took place across the western state of Gujarat in 2002 killing more than 1,000 people.

In connection with a riot in a Muslim neighbourhood in Ahmadabad, in which 69 people were killed and dozens of homes were set on fire, one defendant was sentenced to 10 years in prison and twelve more to 7 years.

The riots have taken life of a former politician from the opposition Congress party, Ehsan Jafri. His widow was very disappointed with the verdict and demanded a more severe punishment.

The death of 60 Hindu nationalists inside a train carriage after it had been engulfed with fire has sparked the Gujarat riots. Although arson was never confirmed, furious Hindus blamed Muslims for setting the fire.

The riots have long dogged Narendra Modi who was Gujarat’s top elected official at the time amid allegations that authorities allowed and even encouraged the bloodshed. Modi of course denied his involvement in the riots and eventually he was not prosecuted as India’s Supreme Court has found no evidence.

Criminal cases were appearing gradually through India’s legal system and first high-profile conviction came in 2012. Maya Kodnani, among 31 others, was sentenced to 28 years in prison in connection with the charges ranging from rioting to murder on Ahmadabad’s outskirts, but has been free on bail pending her appeal.

The years-long trial that began in 2009, where more than 300 witnesses gave evidence, was delayed by legal challenges.
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