NEW DELHI (Agencies) - An Indian court on Tuesday convicted 31 people of setting on fire a train with Hindu devotees in western Gujarat state in 2002 which had set off some of the countrys worst religious riots since independence. The court acquitted 63 other people of conspiracy and murder. The train was carrying devotees returning from the site of a mosque in northern India that was demolished by Hindu mobs in 1992. The special court in Gujarat ruled that the accused had conspired to torch it, killing 59 people, prosecutor JM Panchal said. More than 2,500 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in subsequent riots. The courts decision appears to back the stance of the main opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has long argued the train was deliberately set on fire to provoke the riots. The BJP rules Gujarat state. The verdict comes at a time when the BJP has stepped up its campaign against the Congress-led government over corruption and high food prices, and has forced the government to accept a cross-party probe into a massive telecoms corruption case. Many, including the Congress, believe the riots led to the defeat of the BJP in the 2004 general election and tarnished its acceptability in secular India. Following the riots, the United States refused to issue a visa to Narendra Modi, the states business-friendly chief minister. The Indian Supreme Court condemned his government as modern-day Neros who allowed killings with impunity. According to the probe conducted by retired Supreme Court judge Umesh Chandra Banerjee, the coach fire was not deliberately started. He concluded in 2005 that the fire began by accident. He said there was evidence to suggest the blaze began inside the train and that it was not fire-bombed. The BJP, which denies any role in the riots, welcomed the verdict saying it put to rest arguments the fire was accidental and was used as an excuse by Hindu hardliners for the riots.