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The 2002 Gujarat riots, also known as the 2002 Gujarat violence and the Gujarat pogrom, was a three-day period of inter-communal violence in the western Indian state of Gujarat. Following the initial incident there were further outbreaks of violence in Ahmedabad for three weeks; statewide, there were further outbreaks of mass killings against the minority Muslim population for three months. The burning of a train in Godhra on 27 February 2002, which caused the deaths of 58 Hindu pilgrims and religious workers returning from Ayodhya, is believed to have triggered the violence. Some commentators, however, hold the view that the attacks had been planned, were well orchestrated, and that the attack on the train was a "staged trigger" for what was actually premeditated violence.

According to official figures, the riots resulted in the deaths of 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus; 2,500 people were injured non-fatally, and 223 more were reported missing. Other sources estimate that up to 2,000 Muslims died. There were instances of rape, children being burned alive, and widespread looting and destruction of property. The Chief Minister at that time, Narendra Modi, has been accused of initiating and condoning the violence, as have police and government officials who allegedly directed the rioters and gave lists of Muslim-owned properties to them. In 2012, Modi was cleared of complicity in the violence by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the Supreme Court of India. The SIT also rejected claims that the state government had not done enough to prevent the riots. The Muslim community was reported to have reacted with "anger and disbelief," and activist Teesta Setalvad has said that the legal process was not yet complete as there existed a right to appeal. In July 2013 allegations were made that the SIT had suppressed evidence. That December, an Indian court upheld the earlier SIT report and rejected a petition seeking Modi's prosecution. In April 2014, the Supreme Court expressed satisfaction over the SIT's investigations in nine cases related to the violence, and rejected as "baseless" a plea contesting the SIT report.

While officially classified as a communalist riot, the events of 2002 have been described as a pogrom by many scholars. Other independent observers have stated that these events had met the "legal definition of genocide", and called it an instance of state terrorism. Still others have said the incidents were tantamount to ethnic cleansing. Instances of mass violence which occurred include the Naroda Patiya massacre that took place directly alongside a police training camp, the Gulbarg Society massacre where Ehsan Jafri, a former parliamentarian, was among those killed, and several incidents in Vadodara city. Martha Nussbaum has said, "There is by now a broad consensus that the Gujarat violence was a form of ethnic cleansing, that in many ways it was premeditated, and that it was carried out with the complicity of the state government and officers of the law."


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