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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 9, 2011)

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 9, 2011)

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

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.

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  • aiman

    Dreamdayz01: “He did visualized an Islamic Revolution/State, but that was in the 40′s when British ruled India, and many didn’t trusted either the Muslim League or the Congress. No such revolution took place in his lifetime anyway, and it is absurd to link connection with Iranian revolution of ’79.”

    I think you should do research in this area rather than me pointing out the research which is extensive and accessible to everyone. While Al-Afghani was probably the first Muslim to talk about “revolution”, leading great scholars like Muhammad Abduh to disavow their support after realising its pitfalls, it was Maududi who regenerated this “revolution” and his connection to the Iranian Revolution is well established. Additionally Maududi was the first Muslim “thinker” who expanded the authority of the state, in which the private and public became indistinguishable and the first Muslim “thinker” who founded a political party with a religious headline. Many Muslims speak of Islam “as a way of life”, failing to not how “thinkers” like Maududi viewed control over that life through the authority of the state. Examples are Saudi Arabia and Iran, both of which congratulated Maududi for his ideas, and continue to use them to subjugate their populations. It all had little or nothing to do with Islam but I’m afraid the bad thinkers won over the good thinkers in alliance with corrupt autocrats and self-promotion.

  • Dreamdayz01

    @aiman: It is unfortunate that you have hardly read a chapter of Maududi’s tafseer and came up with such attack on his character. I would like some sources on your claim that he said “Islam is revolution”. He did visualized an Islamic Revolution/State, but that was in the 40′s when British ruled India, and many didn’t trusted either the Muslim League or the Congress. No such revolution took place in his lifetime anyway, and it is absurd to link connection with Iranian revolution of ’79.
    If anything, he was an ‘ahmadiya-phobe’, for the sake of terminology, as are many Muslim scholars even today.
    My example of Pickthall or Yusuf Ali wasn’t presented with a view to discuss them, rather to point that criticism came for everyone, fair and square. You may or may not agree with such criticism, that will be you personal opinion. Even M. Asad is criticized (for over simplifying the text!)…the least we can do is understand the ambiguity present in verses of Qur’an, and the circumstances and problems faced by the translators at the time. No body is perfect, all we can do is take the positives and ignore the negatives.
    Before you dismiss me as a blind supporter of Maududi, let me assure you I am into Maulana Rumi !

    To keep into topic, yesterday the court sentenced 18 of the accused to life imprisonment, and rest to 7 years in prison.

  • aiman

    Not only that, but Maududi didn’t have the English language skills to translate the Qur’an. As for Yusuf Ali’s translation, you’re right that he had the “cheek” to insert his anti-Semitic views in a divine text, the same goes for the Muhsin Khan translation. Pickthall is moderately better among these. Nothing wrong with Biblical English, it’s the meaning that counts. If you really want to read a good translation with no human vanity inserted, try Muhammad Asad’s The Message of the Qur’an.

  • aiman

    Dreamdayz01: That debate will undoubtedly take us out of topic. Regarding your contention that I have not read his Tafseer, I can tell you that I have tried to and gone no further than the second chapter after discovering his lack of intellectual and moral depth. He shows very little interest in moral ethics, which is one of the defining features of the Qur’an, and instead invests his energy in puritanism. He mistakes ethics with puritanism. More importantly, his whole theology stands on the argument that Islam is a “revolution” which is a falsehood. He imported the language of “revolution” from outside, and this has spelled a disaster. The ideology of revolution is antithetical to the humble, incremental reality of Islam. God guided man in small, profound steps. “Revolution” had no place in the discourse of the Prophet (peace upon him) and Maududi’s ideas which have travelled as far as Iran and Saudi Arabia give us a glimpse into this “scholar”. He whole conception of the state is oppressive as well and has been a source of oppression whether in Iran or elsewhere.

  • Dreamdayz01

    Aiman: ” Maududi in Pakistan even had the cheek to misinterpret the Qur’an and write a whole Tafseer based on this newfangled nationalism and mislead many Muslims, including his influence on Qutb.”

    I am willing to bet you haven’t read the tafseer written by Maulana Maudidi. I have the English translation of his Urdu work, and it is actually pretty good, from a pure literary point of view. True, he had his own agenda and notions, but his work on Qur’an is admirable.
    And any translation and tafseer of Qur’an followed criticism, didn’t Pickthall had the ‘cheek’ to translate Qur’an in the Biblical English? Or Yusuf Ali’s controversial footnotes, allegedly against Jews?

  • mjasghar

    Yeah
    There developed the idea that any nonhindu Indian had converted or ancestrally converted because they were low castes. So they must be forcibly reconverted to Hinduism so thy could go back to slaving for us upper castes so we don’t have to demean ourselves with working for a living
    There was a noble based on this idea – anandanath (sp?)
    That ideology is still out there
    Btw the idea was a federal India so majority Muslim areas wouldn’t be oppressed by a majority Hindu parliament. Then Nehru made a speech to Hindu nationalists in Delhi where he basically said yeah we agreed but when we get onto power we can do what we want
    That is what pushes Jinnah to be more active and go for the 2 state solution

  • aiman

    No doubt Modi will get away. But may he meets His Maker and get his just deserts.

    Mjasghar: “So they initiated policies and attitudes to favour Hindus over Muslims esp in regard to education and civil service
    This lead to a new phenomenon of Hindu nationalism which wasn’t there before because Hinduism was previously very diverse and more concerned about caste and region”
    Perhaps to some extent, you’re on to something. But like other forms of anti-justice nationalism’s (Zionism, Islamism which I prefer to call ‘Maududism’), it had its origin in political tumults, no single event gave it life but the Partition propelled it when Hindus found themselves a majority. Compare Hindu nationalism to the nationalism of Maududi in Pakistan (read Sheila McDonough’s book on Muslim ethics) and you will find many similarities. It’s all about power, the unethical exercise of power against vulnerable people. Maududi in Pakistan even had the cheek to misinterpret the Qur’an and write a whole Tafseer based on this newfangled nationalism and mislead many Muslims, including his influence on Qutb. These nationalism’s are very similar to each other and any truth claim is logically dissolved.

  • mjasghar

    Actually it’s more complicated
    After the Mutinies the Brits decided the muslims were most likely to form groups for self rule
    So they initiated policies and attitudes to favour Hindus over Muslims esp in regard to education and civil service
    This lead to a new phenomenon of Hindu nationalism which wasn’t there before because Hinduism was previously very diverse and more concerned about caste and region
    This backfired with the creation of groups such as the one the guy who killed ghandi the rss
    Btw Muslims supported the Brits in ww2 and it was Hindus and Sikhs that formed the volunteer groups who aided the japs

  • Christian-friend

    Hindus kill Muslims in India
    Muslims kill Hindus in Pakistan
    When will it stop?

  • Dreamdayz01

    Narendra Modi have been given a clean chit – now he is being cited as a future prime minister (if not the next).

  • DrM

    This isn’t justice at all. Nerendra Modi and his top brass are the ones who organized the Gujurat pogrum against Muslims.

  • mindy1

    What an awful thing to do to someone-burning them alive is just cruel :(

  • Reynardine

    The Partition was in good part the fruit of the Raj’s divide-and- conquer strategy, exacerbated by Hitler’s agents working in the area of present-day Pakistan from the Thirties through WWII. This ugly fruit has now seeded and regrown through many generations. Though it is unlikely the old India will ever reunite, let them at least learn not to live at the points of their crossed nuclear swords.

  • MasterQ

    @LoonWatch

    I was watching this:

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-may-5-2011/big-mohammed-s-house

    When I ran into this:

    Sacramento Muslims open mosque to Easter service (Video)
    Apr 8, 2012

    SACRAMENTO – A Sacramento congregation was facing an Easter without a home this year until the most unlikely of locations opened their doors and welcomed them inside.

    http://www.news10.net/rss/article/188603/2/Sacramento-Muslims-open-Mosque-to-Easter-service

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