By Shuriah Niazi
NEW DELHI (AA) - A court in India’s western city of Ahmedabad on Thursday convicted 24 people for involvement in anti-Muslim riots that swept Gujarat State in 2002, leaving 69 people -- including MP Ehsan Jafri -- dead.
Thirty-six other defendants were acquitted by the court, which is expected to hand down sentences next week.
Jafri’s wife, Zakia, described Thursday’s verdict as "unfortunate", saying she would seek "justice" at a higher court.
"It’s sad that 36 people have been let off. Justice has not been served," Zakia Jafri told reporters.
"I will continue to fight," she added.
In February of 2002, Hindu mobs surrounded and torched the Gulbarg Society, a predominantly-Muslim neighborhood in Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s largest city. Jafri, an MP for India’s Congress party and a resident of the neighborhood, was dragged out of his home by the mob and hacked to death.
The incident occurred one day after a rail coach was torched near the Godhra railway station, killing 58 Hindus.
Of the 24 people convicted on Thursday, 11 were charged with murder, while the rest were convicted for lesser offenses.
Lawyers for the victims had argued that the incident constituted a premeditated attempt to kill members of the neighborhood’s Muslim community.
In 2010, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who at the time of the incident had been serving as Gujarat chief minister, was questioned about his role in the massacre, but no evidence was found to implicate him.
The 2002 communal riots in Gujarat State led to the death of over 1,000 people, mostly Muslims.