Gujarat High Court commutes death sentences for 11 in Godhra train carnage case
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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The Gujarat High Court jailed 11 men for life on Monday, for setting fire to a train carrying Hindu pilgrims in 2002, which sparked the countryâs worst religious riot s in decades, a lawyer said.
The men had been handed the death penalty for the attack in Gujarat, governed at the time by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but a high court commuted the sentences, saying it was not a âterrorist actâ.
The killing of the 59 pilgrims, while the train stopped at Godhra, a station about 120 km (75 miles) distant from the state capital of Gandhinagar, led to attacks on minority Muslims in which more than 2,500 people were killed, activists say.
Modi, the stateâs chief minister at the time, faced allegations of turning a blind eye to the attacks on Muslims, but a court-appointed investigation panel absolved him of responsibility.
âThe death sentence for 11 has been changed to life imprisonment,â said J. M. Panchal, the special prosecutor in the attack case, but added that the Gujarat High Court had rejected appeals by 20 men who received life terms from a lower court.
The high court also ordered the state gov ernment and railway authorities to pay compensation of 1 million rupees ($15,385) to the family of each person killed in the train fire.
Reporting by Rupam Jain; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Clarence FernandezOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.0 : 0