2002 riots: HC orders Modi govt to compensate damaged religious places

Published 08 February 2012  |  
The Gujarat High Court has directed the Narendra Modi government to provide compensation to places of worship that were destroyed during the 2002 riots.

Criticising the Modi government for failing to control the riots, the High Court on Wednesday said the government showed "negligence" in protecting citizens and religious structures.

The division bench of acting chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice JB Pardiwala ordered the Modi government to compensate for over 500 religious structures in the state.

Noting that the government had paid compensation for destruction of houses and commercial establishments, it directed the government to also pay compensation for damaged religious structures.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Islamic Relief Committee of Gujarat (IRCG).

Chairman of the IRCG Shakeel Ahmed said the petition was filed as a result of the government's failure to provide security to religious places or compensate those that were damaged or destroyed during the riots.

"We had asked for compensation for religious places. To protect them is the government's duty. The government failed to protect them, so it should compensate. Now that the High Court has ordered the same, that government should compensate," Ahmed was quoted by CNN-IBN, as saying.

IRCG's lawyer MTM Hakim has hailed the High Court's observations as a "landmark judgement". He said this was the first time the court had held the government responsible for "inaction" during the 2002 riots.

The High Court has set up a 26-judge committee to oversee the process of releasing compensation to affected places of worship.

The 2002 riots began after 60 Hindu pilgrims died when a train carrying them was set on fire. More than 1,000 people were killed in the violence.

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