Ten years after the Gujarat killings, a special court in Ahmedabad has found 32 people guilty of premeditated violence in the massacre of 99 Muslims in Naroda Patia, one of the many murderous sprees that made up the pogrom of 2002.
This is a landmark judgment because in India the instigators of murderous communal violence are almost never held to account. A decade is a long time, but given that three decades have passed since the organised murder of Sikhs in 1984, in which time some of the principal accused died unpunished, ten years from murder to conviction begins to seem like judicial alacrity. Even those who consider the judgment an inadequate accounting for the pogrom, who feel that justice requires the conviction of the authorities accused of colluding in the killings, must see this as a sustaining victory in the long struggle for the truth.
The judgment holds out the hope that the endless, attritional battle to establish the facts about the killings of 2002 wasn't futile, that India's judicial system is still capable of reminding the powerful and their clients that total impunity is not theirs to command.