An Indian court has sentenced eleven Muslim men to death for setting fire to a passenger train in 2002 that killed dozens of people, mostly Hindu pilgrims.
In addition, the Gujarat court sentenced another 20 defendants to life in prison.
The prosecution had asked the court to sentence all 31 to death.
Last week, more than five dozen other men were acquitted due to “insufficient evidence.”
The incident occurred near the town of Godhra in western Gujarat when a Muslim mob attacked and set fire to a train called the Sabarmati Express carrying Hindu pilgrims coming from the town of Ayodhya.
Among the men acquitted was Maulana Umarji, who was the alleged by prosecutors to be the ringleader of the attack.
The attack later ignited riots across the region which led to the deaths of 1,200 people (mostly Muslims).
Revenge-minded Hindus assaulted Muslims, and attacked their stores and homes.
It was one of the worst cases of Hindu-Muslim communal violence since the 1947 Partition.
Defense attorney I.M. Munshi disputed the convictions.
“The prosecution changed the conspiracy theory twice and that is the enough ground to challenge the verdict,” he said, adding that death sentence by court trial in India has to be confirmed by the high court.
Defense attorneys have ninety days to appeal the sentences.