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Relief for Gujarat riot victims

Shakila Bano, a Muslim resident of Gujarat who lost several family members in the riots (Pic: Geeta Pandey)
The package will benefit those who lost family members during the riots

The Indian government has announced an $80m relief package for the victims of anti-Muslim riots in the western state of Gujarat in 2002.

The package is expected to benefit the families of 1,169 people who were killed in the riots, say officials.

Over 2,500 people, who were wounded, will also be compensated.

More than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died in the violence sparked by an attack on a train carrying Hindu pilgrims, killing 59 of them.

The state's Hindu nationalist BJP government was heavily criticised for doing little to stop the violence.

Politically motivated

"The cabinet has approved a proposal to give additional compensation to victims of the 2002 Gujarat riots," Finance Minister P Chidambaram was quoted by The Indian Express newspaper as saying.

Under the compensation package, the families of those who died in the riots will get 350,000 rupees ($8,333).

Each of the 2,540 wounded will receive 150,000 rupees.

Gujarat religious riots
The riots left at least 1,000 dead - mostly Muslims

The government has also announced relief for those who lost property during the riots.

Some analysts say the relief package is politically motivated - an attempt to woo the Muslims in an election year.

India's Congress party-led coalition government has just completed four years in office and general elections are due to be held next year.

In the Gujarat state assembly polls held in December last year, the Hindu nationalist BJP won a big majority.

Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who was also heading the state administration at the time of the riots, swept the elections.

Mr Modi's government was heavily criticised for its poor handling of the riot cases.


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