Gujarat HC holds Modi Govt. responsible for destruction of religious places in 2002

By TCN News,

Ahmedabad: Holding the Narendra Modi government responsible for “inaction and negligence’’ during the 2002 post-Godhra riots that resulted in large scale damage and destruction of religious properties across the state, the Gujarat High Court on Wednesday ordered the state government for payment of compensation as also restoration of those properties that had yet not been repaired or reconstructed.

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The landmark judgement was given by a bench comprising acting chief justice Bhaskar Battacharya and Justice J.B. Pardiwala on a public interest petition of the Islamic Relief Committee of Gujarat(IRCG).

Lone mosque on Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar highway bulldozed

Criticising the state government strongly and holding it “responsible for repair and compensation of religious places damaged or destroyed during the riots”, the court observed that “inadequacy, inaction and negligence on the part of the state government to prevent riots resulted in large-scale destruction of religious structures across the state”.

Pointing out that when the state government paid compensation for damage and destruction of residential houses and commercial properties, the court ordered that then it should also pay compensation for religious properties. The high court also assigned the principal judges of 26 districts in the state to receive applications for compensation of religious structures in their respective jurisdictions and decide on it. The districts courts have been given six months’ time to send their decisions to the high court.

IRCG had approached the high court in 2003 seeking compensation for the damaged or destroyed religious properties as also their reconstruction, taking plea that the National Human Rights Commission had recommended it and the state government had also accepted it in principle. But the state government had opposed it in the court, saying that there was no policy with regards to the payment of compensation for restoration or repair of religious places damaged or destroyed during the riots.

Commenting on the order, IRCG president Dr. Shakeel Ahmed said that this was the first judgement in the state which the court had ordered for compensation for restoration and repair of damaged or destroyed religious properties during riots. Ahmed said that the state government would now have to restore the tomb of famous Urdu poet Vali Gujarati. The tomb located just in front of the Ahmedabad Police Commissioner’s office was bulldozed and a metalled road was constructed over it by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.

IRCG had submitted a list of 294 religious properties damaged/destroyed during the 2002 communal riots.