World Bulletin / News Desk
A former Indian state minister was sentenced to 28 years in jail on Friday for murder and conspiracy during one of the country's worst religious riots, when up to 2,500 people, most of them Muslim, were hunted down and hacked, beaten or burnt to death in 2002.
Hundreds of friends and relatives of the 32 people found guilty gathered outside a court in the western city of Ahmedebad to hear the sentences, the final step in a years-long case that cast a spotlight on still simmering communal tension in the world's biggest democracy.
Most relatives of the victims of the riots in Gujarat state stayed away from the court, a sign that 10 years on, memories of the bloodletting by Hindu mobs still cast a pall of fear over the state's Muslim community.
There were unconfirmed reports that some Muslim shopkeepers had shut their establishments and families had fled the city, fearing retaliatory attacks over the sentences.
Maya Kodnani, a sitting lawmaker from the state's ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Gujarat minister for women and child development between 2007-2009, was the highest-profile conviction to date in connection with the riots.
The state prosecutor had called for all 32 convicted to face the death penalty, even though India rarely carries out the sentence. All 32 were sentenced to jail, for terms ranging from 14 years to life.
Kodnani's conviction is an embarrassment for both the BJP and Gujarat's high-flying chief minister, Narendra Modi, who is lauded by foreign companies for his business-friendly polices and is often touted as the country's next prime minister.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby downplayed any disconnect with the White House and said U.S. officials were constantly reviewing Syria options
Kiir will be accompanied on his visit by a number of South Sudanese government ministers and officials.
Announcement follows unprecedented talks between Myanmar’s military, political leaders, major opposition parties
Tension has run high across the occupied West Bank since the Wednesday shooting of an extremist Jewish rabbi in Jerusalem
A perforation made in a subterranean water source during mining activities seemed to have caused the flooding
Al-Ahram said Egyptian authorities asked Moussa Ibrahim to leave the country at the request of the Libyan government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni
A fire broke out at France's public radio headquarters in Paris, forcing live programmes off the air as staff evacuated the vast Paris complex where major building work has been underway
Rula Ghani, spouse of Afghanistan's new president Ashraf Ghani, have already critised some Islamic norms welcomed by Afghan society.
At least 300 ISIL militants were killed and scores of vehicles captured in clashes
South Sudan has been shaken by violence since last December, when Kiir accused sacked vice president Riek Machar of leading a failed coup attempt against his regime.
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Burkina Faso on Friday to press President Blaise Compaore to step down, a day after the army dissolved parliament and announced a transitional government in the face of violent mass protests.
Erekat's statement came during a meeting with foreign officials in the West Bank city of Jericho
Catalan head Artur Mas plans to hold the Nov. 9 ballot, marshalled by volunteers, in place of a non-binding referendum on independence declared illegal by the Constitutional Court.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's comments show how the threat posed by ISIL has pushed some Shi'ites and Sunnis to overcome their sectarian differences and face a common enemy
The fresh violence comes amid rising tension in the holy city after Israel closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound
The absence of the three Muslim leaders means that only the majority Orthodox Christian countries will be represented