William Hague presses case of murdered Britons with new Indian government

Six men were initially charged with the murder of the British citizens but they were released on bail

Delhi

Foreign Secretary William Hague pressed British concerns about the delay in delivering justice for three UK citizens killed in communal violence in India when he visited Delhi this week, his office has said. It said Mr Hague’s Indian counterpart “took note” of the concerns.

In advance of Mr Hague’s visit to India with Chancellor George Osborne, the family of the three men killed in Gujarat in 2002 had urged the minsters to raise the issue with new Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whom they both met. They said 12 years after the killing of the three men, the remains had still not been returned to them.

As it was, Mr Hague instead brought up the matter with India’s Foreign Minister, Sushma Swaraj.

“The Foreign Secretary raised this case during his call on Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, the appropriate person to raise consular issues with,” said a spokeswoman for the Foreign Office in London.

She added: “The Foreign Secretary raised our concern about the delays in taking forward these cases and undertook to follow up with more detail in writing.  Mrs Swaraj took note of our concerns.”

Mr Hague and Mr Osborne were first UK ministers to meet Mr Modi, who for a decade was subject to a boycott by Britain and others western nations because of allegations over killings of hundreds of Muslims in a massacre in Gujarat, where he was chief minister.

When Britain ended its boycott in October 2012, one of the reasons given was that the move would better help the UK secure justice for the relatives of the men. Britain’s envoy to India, Sir James Bevan, raised the issue with Mr Modi.

Yet a spokesman for the relatives of the three men – brothers Saeed and Shakil Dawood, and their friend, Mohammed Aswat – say there has been no progress in the case, which appears to be stuck in the courts system.

The three men, originally from Gujarat, were killed in the spring of 2002 while they were on a visit to the state as tourists. Their trip coincided with a wave of anti-Muslim violence and killing that gripped part of the Gujarat after up to 60 Hindu pilgrims died in a fire on a train. In the aftermath of the attack, it was alleged the fire was started by a Muslim mob. Thirty-one people were eventually convicted by the Gujarat courts and 63 acquitted.

The three Britons were killed the following day, after stopping at a roadblock at Prantij, 40 miles north-east of Ahmedabad. The remains of two of the men were eventually recovered after efforts by the family and the British government. Another member of the family escaped and survived. Shakhil Dawood’s body has never been found.

Mr Modi has always denied claims that he allowed the killings of up to 2,000 Muslims to happen and a judicial probe concluded there was insufficient evidence to charge him.

In the past 12 years, the courts in Gujarat have convicted a total of 145 people, including one of Mr Modi’s ministers, Maya Kodnani, who was jailed for 28 years. Yet the case of the Britons has been repeatedly delayed.

Six men were initially charged with the murder of the British citizens but they were released on bail and a number of key witnesses turned hostile.  At the beginning of 2012, two former British diplomats gave testimony via video.

There was no immediate comment on Friday from India’s Foreign Ministry.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
people
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West found himself at the centre of a critical storm over the weekend after he apparently claimed to be “the next Mandela” during a radio interview
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
News
i100
News
Perry says: 'Psychiatrists give help because they need help. You would not be working in mental health if you didn't have a curiosity about how the mind works.'
people
Life and Style
Stepping back in time: The Robshaws endured the privations of the 1950s
food + drinkNew BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?