Eighteen of the 23 people convicted of killing 23 Muslims in Ode in 2002 were sentenced to life terms on Thursday. The other five were given seven years rigorous imprisonment.
The court also fined the convicts for offences like arson,rioting and making provocative statements.
Additional Sessions Judge Poonam Singh had on April 9 convicted 18 people of murder and allied charges,four people of attempt to murder and allied charges,and one person of arson and rioting.
All the convicts belong to the wealthy and politically powerful Leuva Patel community of landowners.
Twenty-three Muslims were locked inside a three-storey building which was set on fire in Ode in Anand district on March 1,2002.
This was the first post-Godhra riots case in which the court upheld the conspiracy charge. The Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team had sought death for all 18 convicted of murder.
Relatives of the convicts raised slogans against the sentence and Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the news came. Haay re Modi haay and Aa nyay nathi (this is not justice),shouted the crowd,comprising mostly women. The situation threatened to get out of hand at one point before the police scattered the protesters.