02/10/2012, 00.00
INDIA
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Gujarat massacre: government to rebuild more than 500 places of worship

by Nirmala Carvalho
The state’s High Court makes the ruling following a petition by the Islamic Relief Committee of Gujarat. Fr Prakash, director of a Jesuit human rights centre, welcomes the decision. More than a thousand people were killed in the 2002 riots; 523 places were destroyed, including three churches.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – The Gujarat High Court has ruled that the government of Gujarat will have to compensate and rebuild the more than 500 places of worship destroyed during the 2002 riots. The ruling criticises Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi whose administration showed “negligence” in protecting citizens and religious structures. The decision follows a petition filed by Islamic Relief Committee of Gujarat (IRCG) in the absence of government compensation for the victims of the 2002 massacre.

“We welcome the news,” said Fr Cedric Prakash, director of the Prashant Human Rights Centre in Ahmadabad. “This judgement surely comes as a relief for victims’ survivors, for those fighting for justice and for all those who cherish the secular fabric and the diversity of our country and wish to preserve it.”

On 27 February 2002, a group of Muslims attacked the Sabarmati Express, a train carrying Hindu pilgrims, especially women, children and seniors, on their way home from Ayodhya.

The attack unleashed sectarian riots across Gujarat. Local Muslims suffered the most. Of the thousand and more who are known to have died, 790 were Muslims and 254 were Hindus. In addition, 253 people are still missing.

Overall, 523 places of cult, including three churches, were destroyed. The authorities arrested 27,901 Hindus and 7.651 Muslims.
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