The mother of all Indian magazines, India Today, concurs with the nanavati Commission report that Muslims did set the train in fire horrendously burning alive 58 innocent Hindus including 20 children. Another example of the peace religion in action!
Godhra carnage a conspiracy: Nanavati report
Uday Mahurkar, India Today
New Delhi, September 26, 2008,
The GT Nanavati Commission’s interim report on the Godhra carnage confirming the conspiracy theory of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Gujarat Police that investigated the case has stirred a hornet’s nest.
The familiar faces of the human rights activists, the government and the saffron lobby have resurfaced once again to create a din over the Godhra carnage.
The human rights lobby has called it a political report to suit the political designs of the saffron government. While the chief actor in the episode, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, has termed ‘it the unravelling of the ultimate truth’.
“I kept quite on the issue for seven years. Now the truth is out. It has silenced the mischief mongers, who have been trying to fish in the troubled water of Godhra to suit their designs,” he said.
What is the truth? One close look at the evidence with an open mind would indicate that the truth seems closer to what the Commission has said than what is being claimed by its critics.
There’s a wide gap between what the report concludes and what the human rights activists allege that the train was attacked by thousands of Muslims of Signal Falia area opposite Godhra Railway station with sharp weapons, stones and burning rags in front of dozens of eye witnesses.
The human rights activists have been peddling two unbelievable theories. One that it was an accident, something that lawyer Mukul Sinha of Ahmedabad, who represents NGO Jan Sangharsh Manch, has constantly argued in defence of the alleged killers of Godhra.
And two, that the Godhra carnage itself is a conspiracy on the part of the BJP-led Gujarat government. In other words, the saffron government killed its own Hindutva workers in order to whip up an anti-Muslims riot to create a political atmosphere in its favour for the next assembly polls.
The second theory has largely been spoken about in guarded language by supporters of Teesta Setalvad.
So, there is no meeting ground between the report and the human rights activists. While report says there was a conspiracy to burn the train. The human rights lobby not only discounts the conspiracy theory but even denies that the train was burnt by the Ghanchi Muslim mob despite a plethora of eyewitnesses who saw it happening.
The investigation into the case was led by DIG Rakesh Asthana, now IG and Vadodara Police Commissioner, and conducted by Dy SP Noel Parmar, a Christian officer known for his efficiency.
In fact when Parmar was appointed as investigation officer of the case, many in the Sangh Parivar complained to the government saying that he was a Christian and could play mischief under pressure of the minority lobby. However, the government didn’t change him inspite of such towering pressure.
Both Asthana and Parmar are known as upright and efficient officers and unlikely to toe a purely political line. That’s perhaps the reason why the Nanavati Commission has relied heavily on Parmar’s investigation in concluding that the Godhra case was a conspiracy.
The report says that the conspiracy was hatched by Salim Panwala, Razak Kurkur and around half a dozen others including Maulvi Husssein Umarj who was the main conspirator. The motive was to take revenge on the demolishers of Babri Masjid.
A night before the incident, they held a meeting in Aman Guest House opposite the station owned by an accused Razak Kurkur. Then they brought 140 litres petrol from the petrol pump closeby in seven plastic cans. The petrol was brought in a green tempo by Imran Sheru, Hasan Charkha, Jabir Behra and Mehmood Khalid and few more persons who kept it in the room of guest house.
According to the report, their plan went haywire when they learnt that the Sabarmati Express was several hours late and would arrive only after dawn instead of midnight.
Since the train got late they changed the strategy. When the train was about to leave the station at around 8 next morning they spread the false alarm that a Muslim girl had been abducted into the train by the Ramsevaks.
As a result, hundreds of irate Muslims gathered to attack the train. The report says that the conspirators wanted this melee to camouflage their designs and therefore they spread the false alarm.
The Nanavati Commission has discounted one of the main theories of a section of human rights activists that one of the Ramsevaks travelling on the Sabamati train coming from Ayodhya had tried to abduct a Muslim girl called Sofiabanu Shaikh at Godhra railway station on February 27, 2002 morning.
After interviewing Shaikh the Commission found several gaps in her story and concluded that she was parroting what perhaps had been fed to her a few days after the incident.
The report concluded that the story of a Muslim girl’s abduction was falsely spread on that morning of the unfortunate incident.
This rumour was part of a conspiracy in order to collect a crowd to attack the train.
The 168 page report says that in the melee Sjaukat Laloo and Mohammed Latika cut open the rear vestibule of S-6 and entered the train from there and the opened the closed door to allow the other conspirators to move into the compartment with the petrol.
Hasan Lalu then threw a burning rag to start the blaze even as the mob continued to pelt stones to prevent the passengers from moving out of the burning train coach. This is by and large what Noel Parmar has said in his investigation. End
Flashback to rediff report about the fire in 2002
At least 58 people, most of them kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya, were killed and 43 injured when miscreants attacked the Sabarmati Express and set afire four of its coaches at Godhra railway station in Gujarat on Wednesday.
Following the incident, large-scale violence and stabbings were reported from Godhra town, Ahmedabad and Baroda.
The dead included women and children, a senior railway official said.
When the train from Faizabad arrived at Godhra railway station at around 8.30 am (IST), the kar sevaks travelling on it and some locals on the platform started shouting slogans.
As the train started moving, someone pulled the emergency chain and it came to a halt near the signal point, where a mob attacked the coaches with petrol and acid bombs, setting them on fire, the official said.
Some passengers were trapped inside the coaches and burned to death, he said.
Mahant Devendradasji, the head priest of a temple in Ahmedabad, who was in the train, said: “A few people began stoning the train without any provocation. As a reaction, people inside the coaches downed shutters.”
The mahant said the attackers numbered over 2,000.
In New Delhi, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee appealed to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to postpone its plan for constructing a temple in Ayodhya. But the VHP said it had no authority to do so and was determined to go ahead with the construction as directed by religious leaders.
The outfit also called for a Gujarat bandh on Thursday to protest against the attack.
Indefinite curfew was clamped in Godhra immediately after the incident, as large-scale violence erupted. Police opened fire at many places to disperse rioting mobs.
In Ahmedabad, a bus was set afire by a mob in Bapunagar, while some passengers of a community were injured in an attack by a group of people, the police said.
In Baroda, one person was stabbed to death and five were injured after a mob attacked them at the waiting hall of Baroda railway station, the police said.
The governments of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal have sounded a high alert and instructed district authorities to ensure law and order in communally sensitive areas.
Among the injured in the attack on the train were 31 men, nine women and three children. Of them, 20 passengers who sustained serious burns were admitted to a hospital at Godhra.
One of the coaches of the 18-bogie train was completely gutted, official sources said.