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India Sentences 3 to Die in Temple Attack

July 1, 2006

NEW DELHI (AP) _ A court Saturday convicted three men of involvement in a 2002 terrorist attack on a Hindu shrine in western India that killed 33 people, and it sentenced them to death, a news report said.

The court, at a high-security jail in Ahmadabad, convicted and sentenced three others in the attack _ one to life in prison, one to five years, and one to 10 years, the Press Trust of India reported.

The Sept. 24, 2002, attack on the Akshardham temple in western Gujarat state apparently was a revenge slaying for religious rioting that killed more than 1,000 Muslims in the state earlier that year.

Indian security forces said Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group fighting for independence of the disputed Kashmir region, carried out the attack after enlisting support of some local Muslims.

Police identified 34 people in the case, including the two dead attackers. Twenty-six of them are still at large, according to police.

The three who were sentenced to death were identified as Chand Khan, Adam Suleman Ajmeri and Abdul Kayum Mohammed Hussain Mansuri, the PTI report said. They were found guilty of ``hatching criminal conspiracy and waging a war against the nation,″ it said.

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