An Indian court convicted 22 people on Monday over the massacre of 11 Muslims during religious rioting in the western state of Gujarat that left more than 2,000 dead in 2002.
Another 61 people were acquitted for lack of evidence in the case, in which rioters in the Gujarati town of Visnagar attacked a Muslim family, locked them inside their house and then set them on fire.
Of the 11 who died in what became known as the Dipda Darwaza massacre, two were children. Visnagar is 70 kilometers (45 miles) north of the state’s main city, Ahmedabad.
The violence in Gujarat was triggered by the killing of nearly 60 Hindu pilgrims travelling in a train that was torched by a mob.
Judge S.C. Srivastava stated that 21 people had been convicted of attempted murder, rioting and arson and one former police officer who had investigated the case has been convicted of dereliction of duty.
Public prosecutor Mukesh Brahmbhatt told AFP the judge did not find any evidence of a conspiracy in the case despite claims from the prosecution that the violence was pre-planned.
Hindu mobs hungry for revenge rampaged through Muslim neighborhoods in several cities and villages across Gujarat during three days of bloodshed that witnessed some of India's worst religious violence since independence from Britain in 1947.
More than 2,000 people, most of them Muslims, were hacked, beaten or burned to death.
Gujarat’s Chief Minister Narendra Modi ̶ a prominent member of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party who is thought to harbor ambitions of being prime minister ̶ was widely criticized for failing to stop the riots.
A total of 84 people have already been convicted by the trial court in four separate cases.
The charges in the Dipda Darwaza massacre included murder, conspiracy, rioting, unlawful assembly, attempted murder and destruction of evidence.
Sentencing was expected later Monday.