AHMEDABAD , India, June 17 (UPI) -- An Indian court handed life imprisonment sentences Friday to 11 of 24 people convicted in a massacre during anti-Muslim rioting in 2002.
Sixty-nine people died when a predominately Hindu mob attacked and burned the Gulbarg Society, a Muslim neighborhood of about 30 homes and 10 apartment buildings in the city of Ahmedabad. Among those who died was Ehsan Jafri, a prominent former member of parliament.
More than 1,000 people across India, mostly Muslims, died in rioting initiated by a fire aboard a train which killed 60 Hindu pilgrims. The Gulbarg attack occurred the day after the train was struck by arson.
Critics of current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was chief minister of Gujarat state, where the Gulbarg incident occurred, say he did little to end the rioting. Modi has denied wrongdoing, and a Supreme Court panel, citing insufficient evidence, declined to prosecute him in 2013.
Of the other 24 convicted, 11 received life in prison; 12 were given jail sentences of seven years for crimes including rioting and arson; and one other received a 10-year sentence which included a conviction for attempt to murder.
The trial lasted seven years, and 36 people have been acquitted.