New Delhi: Now that the Supreme Court has finally given a clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi upholding the magisterial court’s orders, it may be time to probe whether the Godhra train inferno was preplanned?
The BJP, the VHP and other Sangparivar elements have all along since 2002 alleged that the Godhra railway platform mayhem of Feb 27, 2002, was ‘preplanned’ by Islamist forces.
One common refrain from Gujarat police and ministers from time to time – beginning in 2002 – has been that “such a huge mob could not have been collected or gathered unless there was a deliberate attempt to incite violence”.
Narendra Modi, then Chief Minister of Gujarat, later targeted ‘Mia Musharraf’. Perhaps he had reasons to suspect a conspiracy or a plot from across the border.
There would be elements keen to derail the Ayodhya movement and to a large extent ‘defame’ the then Vajpayee government.
Even Vajpayee’s Defence Minister, George Fernandes, used to say that the strategic ramifications of the entire plot could not be underestimated.
In fact, at the fag end of the riots on September 24, 2002, two Pakistani terrorists were involved
in the attack on Akshardham temple at Gandhinagar.
Not surprisingly, on Sept 25, 2002, the then Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani (in charge of the Home portfolio) said that hitherto unheard off ‘Tehrike-e-Kasas (outfit of revenge)’ terrorists chose to attack the Akshardham temple with the intention to hold a number of people hostage and then get their demands fulfilled.
Indian ‘secular parties’ did not condemn or react to the railway station inferno till the anti-Muslim
violence was triggered off in Ahmedabad and other places on Feb 28, 2002.
In fact, the Railway Police Force FIR lodged on Feb 27 (2002) itself was the ‘first’ authentic version available about the incident. It had categorically said that provocative appeals made over loudspeakers from a nearby Masjid had surcharged the atmosphere.
It also claimed – “miscreants from the minority community had planned to attack more coaches and the passengers had closed all windows and doors and thus made themselves captive targets”.
The RPF version maintained that the train was stopped for the ‘second time’ by removing the vacuum
pump. Three RPF personnel on duty – Karan Singh, Sri Mohan Yadav and Ambaresh Kumar – fired four rounds from .303 rifles. Ambaresh also alerted other colleagues and the inspector in charge J K George.
Inspector George and one of his colleagues Nawab Singh rushed to the spot while ‘provocative
appeals; were being made from the local Masjid over a loudspeaker.
The RPF FIR charged over 1000 people with conspiracy and murder under various sections including
section 302 of IPC. The RPF officials also sought reinforcement and about 40 personnel and four doctors had rushed from Baroda.
Curiously, it was later given out by eyewitness accounts and local residents that Godhra township did not have many educated people. It was also reported that the chief occupation of a ‘vast number of youths’ in the township has been to rob train passengers, snatch chains and lift bags.
There were other interesting stories related to the incidents on the Godhra railway platform.
One source had said then (in 2002) that there was heavy stone pelting on the burnt coach from
the southern side of the tracks as window panes on the other (northern side) had melted in the fire.
Closer investigations of the Forensic Laboratory had stated that the intensity of the heat in the charred coach S-6 was four-five times more towards seat No. 72. It was concluded that – “….standing in the passage of seat number 72, using a container with a wide opening, about 60 litres of liquid had been poured and immediately a fire had been started in the bogie”.
On various allegations and theories of ‘larger conspiracy’, the Supreme Court has finally hit the
nail. It said that accepting the argument of a larger conspiracy behind the riots would raise the question of whether the Godhra train burning was also the “outcome of alleged larger criminal conspiracy”.
“Such a view would be preposterous,” the judgment said.