New Delhi, July 30: The Supreme Court today prodded Gujarat to frame a policy to fund and repair mosques damaged during the post-Godhra riots.
Citing the precedent of Odisha, which on court orders repaired all the churches damaged in the 2008 Kandhamal riots, a two-judge bench wondered whether Gujarat was thinking of any such scheme.
The bench was hearing an appeal by the state against Gujarat High Court’s order directing it to repair the mosques.
The top court has so far refused to stay the order. Today, it refused to stay the part of the judgment that blamed the damage on the state’s “inadequate action or inaction”, despite a plea by additional advocate-general Tushar Mehta.
Mehta claimed the observations on Gujarat’s “inadequate action” were prompting more people to go to a commission of inquiry or the high court against the state.
The bench asked Mehta whether the state was thinking of any scheme like Odisha’s. Mehta sought to quibble over the matter, saying Odisha had only been asked to frame a scheme for repairs and not pay damages. But in the end, he sought time to reply. The next hearing is on August 14.
Minority leaders in Gujarat were sceptical that the Modi government would frame a policy to repair damaged mosques or offer compensation.
“I don’t think the state government is serious. Ten years is long enough to repair damaged shrines. Even now, it is just employing delaying tactics, probably fearing the apex court might pass strictures,” said Shakeel Ahmed, who heads the Islamic Relief Committee of Gujarat, which had moved the high court.