Ahmadabad (India), Feb 09, 2012: The Gujarat High Court Wednesday criticized the Narendra Modi government in the state for "inaction and negligence" during the 2002 post-Godhra riots aimed at Muslims that led to large-scale destruction of Muslim religious structures.
Holding then Modi led government, which still is in power, responsible, the judgment, ordered that the state government for payment of compensation as well as restoration of these properties that had yet not been taken care off.
The landmark judgment came in response of a public interest litigation petition of the Islamic relief Committee of Gujarat (IRCG) and the High Court bench comprising of chief justice Bhaskar Battacharya and Justice J.B. Pardiwala delivered the judgment.
In its petition, IRCG had submitted a list of 294 religious properties damaged or destroyed during the 2002 communal riots.
The judgment laid the onus on then government while saying that the state government had failed, showed inaction and was negligent, due to which the riots happened and, consequently, religious structures were destroyed.
Criticizing the state government strongly and holding it "responsible for repair and compensation of Muslim 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 Muslim religious structures across the state".
The Gujarat government has already made the provisions for compensation of damaged residential houses and commercial properties but it is yet to cover the losses of religious structures, which predominantly were that of Muslims.
The judgment has cleared and 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.
In year 2003, IRCG approached the high court to seek compensation for the damaged or destroyed Muslim religious properties as also their reconstruction as recommended by National Human Rights Commission and also accepted it in principle by the state government.
In due course, 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 was quoted saying that this was the first judgment in the state which the court had ordered for compensation for restoration and repair of damaged or destroyed religious properties during riots.
“The state government would now have to restore the tomb of famous Urdu poet Vali Gujarati. The tomb located just in front of the Police Commissioner’s office was bulldozed and a road was constructed over it by Ahmadabad Municipal Corporation,’ he said.