Death sentences for India train massacre group

Eleven Muslims have been sentenced to death for starting a train fire that killed 60 Hindu nationalists and triggered one of India's worst outbursts of religious violence.

Judge P.R. Patel last week convicted 31 Muslims of being part of a criminal conspiracy that led to the deaths of 60 people when a Sabarmati Express train coach packed with Hindu pilgrims was set on fire in western Gujarat state in 2002.

The court today sentenced the other 20 people convicted in the case to life imprisonment.

About 1,000 people were killed after the fire when groups of Hindus rampaged through Muslim districts and towns in Gujarat from February to April 2002. Most of the dead were Muslims.

The religious violence was among India's worst since its independence from Britain in 1947.

The state government, which has been controlled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, has been accused by the opposition and media of not doing enough to stop the violence and of even stoking it.