The Narendra Modi government has been criticized by the Gujarat High Court for failing to protect religious buildings during the communal riots that engulfed the state in 2002. The court has ordered the government to fund the repair of nearly 600 buildings, ending an eight-year legal battle.
1200 people were killed in the worst riots in independent India, most of them Muslims. The judges said, "The state government and police could not stop riots. There was inaction on part of the police...how can you not provide compensation for the reconstruction of religious buildings that were damaged during the riots?"
The petition was filed in 2003 by Dr Shakeel Ahmed, Chairman of the Islamic Relief Committee. The government countered that there is no rule under which it can grant the compensation that Dr Ahmed sought. Today, a spokesperson for the government said the order will be studied. ''Our government believes in justice for all, but it does not believe in appeasement,'' the spokesman, Saurabh Patel, said.
The court has said district judges across the state will help decide the amount of compensation that different buildings should receive.