Six cleared of killing three British tourists during religious riots

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A court in western India has acquitted six men accused of killing three British tourists during religious riots in 2002.

The court in Gujarat state said that it found no evidence against the accused.

The three British Muslims were killed in the riots that erupted in Gujarat state after a train filled with Hindu pilgrims was attacked by a Muslim mob in a small town.

A fire broke out – although it remains unclear whether it was arson – and 60 Hindus burned to death.

In retaliation, more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in the state.

The three British men and their driver were pulled from their car and set on fire by rioters.

The British victims were named as Imran and Shakil Dawood and Mohammad Aswat.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi was the state’s 
chief minister at that time and Muslim leaders and human rights groups said Mr Modi and his Hindu nationalist government did little to stop the violence, an allegation
he has denied.

India’s Supreme Court has said it found no evidence to prosecute him for the violence.

Riot-related cases have moved slowly through India’s creaky legal system.

The most high profile convictions came in 2012 when Maya Kodnani, a former government minister, and 31 others were convicted on charges ranging from rioting to murder, stemming from an attack in Naroda Patiya, a small industrial town on the outskirts of Ahmadabad, Gujarat’s capital, that killed 95 people. Kodnani, who was given 28 years in prison, was freed on bail in July while her appeal is waiting to be heard.

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