GUJARAT - A court in India has found 31 people guilty of killing dozens of Muslims in communal rioting in the state of Gujarat nine years ago. They were found guilty of murder, attempted murder, arson, rioting and criminal conspiracy after 33 people were burned alive in a building. Another 42 mostly Hindu defendants were acquitted on Wednesday because of a lack of evidence. Those convicted will be sentenced later this week. They face the death penalty. More than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed when riots erupted after 60 Hindu pilgrims died in a train fire. It was one of Indias worst outbreaks of communal violence in recent years. Muslims were blamed for starting the train fire, and Hindu mobs eager for revenge went on the rampage through Muslim neighbourhoods in towns and villages across Gujarat in three days of violence following the incident. The special court dealing with the case sat near Sardarpura village, where the 33 Muslims sought shelter in a small house on the night of 28 February, 2002. The victims had gathered there to get away from the rioters, who set the building alight. The bodies of 28 people were found at the scene, with five others dying later from their injuries. The case is one of nine trials being held in India in connection with the violence following the train fire and is one of the first in which convictions have been secured. The Gujarat government is led by Hindu nationalist Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who has been accused by rights groups - and a senior police officer in April - of tacitly supporting the rioters. He denies the allegations but has never apologised for the riots. Responsibility for the train fire has been the subject of fierce debate between Hindus and Muslims. In February a special court in Gujarat found 31 people guilty of setting fire to the passenger train in the town of Godhra. The court acquitted 63 other people of conspiracy and murder. An inquiry commission set up by the state government said in 2008 that the burning of the train was a conspiracy. It examined more than 1,000 witnesses during a six-year period, found that 140 litres of petrol had been purchased as part of what it said had been a conspiracy to burn the train carriage. That commission also exonerated Mr Modi over the riots that followed the blaze.