Trinamool claimed that 11 persons killed in July 2000 were its supporters
Forty-four persons were sentenced to life imprisonment on Thursday by a local court at Suri in West Bengal's Birbhum district, for murdering 11 persons a decade ago.
The killings had created a political storm with the Trinamool Congress leadership claiming that the victims, supporters of the party, had been killed by activists of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
The incident occurred at Suchpur in Nanur thana in July 2000.
Among those sentenced is a CPI(M) district committee member. The local party leadership is considering appealing against the sentence.
Additional District and Sessions judge Biswanath Konar, who on Wednesday convicted the 44 persons of murder and rioting with deadly weapons, handed down the sentence.
Describing the ruling as “historic,” Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee said people across the State were standing up to atrocities allegedly committed by the CPI(M) activists. The CPI(M) will have to face the consequences in the coming Assembly election, she added.
“The ruling is in favour of the helpless, poor people, including minorities in the State. All is well that ends well,” Ms. Banerjee told a local television channel from New Delhi.
She charged the CPI(M) with using a section of the State administration to unleash terror on the people.
Greeting the court verdict, Pradesh Congress Committee president Manas Bhunia said it had raised the esteem of the judiciary in the eyes of the people despite the administration's efforts to drag the case for 10 years.
He challenged Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to admit the crimes committed by CPI(M) activists and step down.