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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 May, 2005, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
Gujarat riot death toll revealed
Godhra train
The cause of the Godhra train fire is still uncertain
India has for the first time published detailed figures on the number of people killed in the religious riots in the western state of Gujarat in 2002.

The government told parliament that 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed, 223 more people reported missing and another 2,500 injured.

It was responding to a written question from an unnamed MP.

The riots were sparked by a fire on a train at Godhra in Gujarat that killed 59 Hindu pilgrims.

Government inquiry

Junior Home Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal told the upper house that more than 900 women had been widowed and 600 children orphaned in the riots.

Mr Jaiswal detailed the financial relief and other assistance given to the affected families.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi
Gujarat's Narendra Modi has come in for criticism over the riots

A total of 150,000 rupees ($3,400) had been paid to the next of kin of each person killed, he said.

The state government in Gujarat had paid out a total of 2.04bn rupees towards relief and rehabilitation, Mr Jaiswal said.

Gujarat's Hindu nationalist-led state government under Chief Minister Narendra Modi has always maintained a Muslim mob attacked the Godhra train, causing the fire and sparking the subsequent riots.

However, a government report in January said the fire may have begun by accident inside the train.

The state government and Mr Modi have come under intense criticism for their handling of the riots.

Human rights groups say the authorities failed to take measures to prevent retribution against Muslims.

Recently, a police officer said the Gujarat government had authorised the killing of Muslims after the riots, a charge the state government denies.




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