The Supeme Court of India ordered an investigation into the brutal riots gainst Muslims which took place in the western state of Gujarat in February-April of 2002 and resulted in the death of at least 1000 Muslims. The government of that state was controlled by Hindu extreme nationalists who are accused of not simply failing to protect innocent Muslims from rioters but of actually inciting further violence. The riots were initially triggered by a fire that killed 60 pasengers on a train packed with Hindu pilgrims. Hindu nationalists blamed Muslims for the fire although to this day no one knows the origin of it. Rioters then attacked Muslims and killed them by the hundreds.
Teeta Setalvad, founder of the Citizens for Justice and Peace, which has been working with riot survivors, hailed the decision as an important step in moving toward reconciliation between the religions. The Supreme Court appointed an investigation commission which wll report back within three months.