Special Correspondent

AHMEDABAD: Muslims displaced by the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat have demanded a special economic package from the Central Government to help them return home.

Some 3,000 Muslims, gathered at the Gujarat Vidyapith here on Thursday, claimed to represent some 5,000 families with about 23,000 people displaced from their homes during the riots and were still living away from their homes.

They represented their cases before a panel, complaining about lack of facilities from the BJP Government in the State and formed an organisation, "Antarik Visthapit Hak Rakshak Samiti," to carry forward their struggle for justice.

Among those present in the panel were Sayeda Hamid, a member of the Planning Commission, Dilip Padgaonkar, journalist and member of the National Minority Commission, P.J. Namboothiri, a retired IPS officer of the Gujarat cadre, and R. A. Mehta, retired judge of the Gujarat High Court.

A three-point charter of demands presented by the displaced Muslims said they demanded "recognition as citizens of India with basic rights to life with dignity and livelihood."

They demanded basic amenities in the rehabilitation camps.