Gujarat govt won’t have to rebuild religious structures destroyed in 2002 riots: SC

The Supreme Court on Tuesday set aside the Gujarat High Court order asking the state government to pay for the reconstruction and repair work of religious structures damaged during the 2002 riots.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice P C Pant allowed the Gujarat Government’s appeal challenging the High Court verdict that it should pay for reconstruction and repair works of religious structures damaged during riots, Press Trust of India reports.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who had represented the state government, said that “our plea has been allowed” and moreover the state government had told the court that it was willing to pay from ex-gratia amount for repair and reconstruction works of various structures, shops and houses, which were damaged.

“This scheme (of the government) has been accepted,” Mehta said. The court was hearing an appeal filed by the Gujarat Government against an order of the high court directing it to pay compensation to over 500 shrines damaged during the 2002 riots.

According to The Guardian, 230 “unique Islamic monuments, including an exquisite 400-year-old mosque, were destroyed or vandalised during the recent anti-Muslim riots in the Indian state of Gujarat.”

“Experts say the damage is so extensive that it rivals the better publicised destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan or the wrecking of Tibet’s monasteries by the Red Guards,” the British newspaper had said in a report published soon after the riots.

“Several monuments have been reduced to rubble in the course of the riot, in which 2,000 people, mainly Muslims, have died,” the report had said.

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