India jails 2 Hindu hard-liners for blast at Muslim shrine
NEW DELHI (AP) — An Indian court sentenced two Hindu hard-liners to life in prison on Wednesday for triggering an explosion at a Muslim shrine in western India that killed three people and injured more than a dozen a decade ago.
The court handed the sentence to the convicts in Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan state. A third convict in the case died after the 2007 blast, which occurred in Ajmer, a Muslim pilgrimage center in Rajasthan.
Indian news reports said two of the convicts were former preachers of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or National Volunteer Corps, a Hindu group that has long been accused of stoking religious hatred against Muslims. India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party is a political wing of the RSS.
Investigators initially suspected the involvement of a Pakistan-based militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, but later found that RSS supporters were involved in the blast.
Muslims constitute about 14 percent of India’s 1.3 billion people. While Muslim insurgents are often blamed for bombings in the country, prosecution of Hindu hard-liners for such crimes is rare.