India

Gujarat HC Calls For Reply From Central, State Governments on Religious Structure Demolition

BeyondHeadlines News Desk

New Delhi: The Gujarat High Court yesterday directed the central as well as the state governments to file affidavits and submit action taken report in connection with the damage caused to religious structures in the 2002 communal riots in the state.

The First Bench of the court comprising Chief Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya and Justice Aquil Qureshi questioned central government counsel PS Champaneri and state government pleader PK Jani on the issue. The bench asked the counsels to obtain instructions as to whether a National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) report on the subject matter has been placed before the parliament and the state assembly. The court also sought to know what step has been taken in case the reports have already been placed before the state assembly or Parliament.

Rioters in Godhra during 2002 Gujarat riots

The Bench was hearing a public interest litigation claiming that the government has to compensate for the damage caused to the religious structures in the riots. The petition claimed that the government failed to discharge its duty to protect life and property and hence should compensate for the same. The state government counsel however stated that the claim is against existing government policy.

According to a survey conducted by the NHRC, 535 religious structures were damaged during the 2002 communal riots in the state. The petitioner contended that the state has constitutional obligation to protect the religious identity of citizens.

The Bench ordered state and central government to file affidavits after the petitioner argued that the government should act on the report of the NHRC and they should compensate or rebuild the religious structures damaged in 2002 riots.

The bench has asked the petitioner to address the court on whether it amounts to any breach of human rights if damage is caused to religious structures.

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