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.
According to the International Labor Organization there are still around 3.2 million child labors in Bangladesh
'Indonesians who departed for Syria and supported ISIL should be considered to have conducted terrorism acts,' a judge says
Cambodia has millions of unexploded bombs, however young children are unaware of the danger of the objects.
Move comes as Kabul government gears up to enter peace talks with Taliban
Human rights lawyer says smuggling networks saw opportunity to profit from those fleeing Syrian conflict, with illegal entries believed to match 40-percent increase in legal entries
Pyongyang claims to have successfully launched satellite into orbit
Four-nation talks aimed at ending Afghanistan's 15-year war has been concluded with a call for direct talks between the government and the Taliban by the end of February.
A suicide bomber riding on a bicycle targeted a vehicle carrying security forces in southwestern Pakistan on Saturday, killing 8.
Of fatalities, 5 were inside 16-story building among those collapsed after magnitude 6.4 tremor strikes south Tainan city
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has in Sri Lanka on Saturday morning, on a four-day official visit.
Satellite images taken this week of North Korea's Sohae rocket launch site show apparent fueling activity seen in the past shortly before a rocket launch
Kashmir Day is observed every year on Feb 5 to express solidarity with the people of Indian-occupied Kashmir in their struggle for self-determination
In 2015, China for the first time has beaten Japan as biggest Asia-Pacific tech spender
US top general in Afghanistan says plan to reduce troops can be adjusted
Turkish member of body overseeing country's peace process says despite failure of house to seal peace expects efforts to continue
Defence ministry says strikes were carried out by the Afghan air force with the support of NATO troops