The Godhra train burning incident that led to the Gujarat riots of 2002, is a dark blotch in the history of a country which is proud of its diversity. One person was crushed to death. His position was taken over by Justice Akshay H Mehta. Nanavati Report, Report of the Commission of Inquiry Consisting of Justice Nanavati and Justice Mehta, and also quoted in The Godhra Riots:Sifting Fact from Fiction by Nicole Elfi (2009). Violence Spreads Across Indian State By ASHOK SHARMA,Associated Press Feb 28, 2002 (URL: That the survivors of the February 27 Sabarmati Express blaze at Godhra are a bitter lot will be an understatement. About 550-odd residents of the Prem Darwaja Vagheri Vas, Dariyapur, had no choice but to leave behind their belongings and take shelter in a near-by temple, following the violence of March 21. 1, After this question I finally let out the Djinn of Godhra which has been disturbing me from past eight years and Mr. Modi as well, on whose mind Godhra has been looming for a long time. The victims included 27 women and 10 children. But Justice Banerjee came up with the conclusion that the fire in Sabarmati Express was “accidental” and that the train had not been attacked from outside. The court’s verdict came on appeals filed by the convicts and the prosecuting agency. Three others were acquitted by … He was handed over to the Special Investigation Team (SIT). 59 karsevaks were burnt to death in a most horrifying manner. Lalu Prasad today accused Nitish of closing the Railways' probe in Godhra train burning incident to suit the interest of Narendra Modi. 7. The 63 people acquitted also include the prime accused in the case Maulana Umarji, Mohammad Hussain Kalota, Mohammad Ansari and Nanumiya Chaudhary. I handed over to the Nanavati Commission the entire list of charges they had listed in their memorandum. The determination of the mob to cause mass killings is evident from the account of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) B.R. Such was his minute detailed explanation that I felt being transported to Godhra and Gujarat of those times. There was no one to ask them for accounts. Modi, Muslims and media: Voices from Narendra Modi's Gujarat. The Godhra train burning case refers to the train that was returning with passengers from the site of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya that had been demolished in 1992. Therefore, they wanted to drag on the camps for as long as they could. Rioting did not start in the morning of February 28. The SIT's conspiracy theory claimed that these 31 people held meetings, planned to target the train when it reached Godhra station and that they burnt the coach. Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India : HarperCollins Publishers India, 2016. According to reports, Congress Party councillor Taufeeq Khan Pathan and his son Zulfi, notorious gangsters, were allegedly seen leading Muslim rioters. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society. Justice Nanavati and Justice Akshay Mehta submitted the final report of the Nanavati-Shah Commission that same year describing the train burning as a conspiracy. Then I fainted.’”. There is absolutely no evidence to show that either the Chief Minister and/or any other Minister(s) in his Council of Ministers or Police officers had played any role in the Godhra incident or that there was any lapse on their part in the matter of providing protection, relief and rehabilitation to the victims of communal riots or in the matter of not complying with the recommendations and directions given by National Human Rights Commission. Most Hindutva sources, searchable on the internet but otherwise quite unreported in the Western media, have emphasized that most victims were "women and children", implying a big question-mark over the description of the Godhra victims as "militants". They were very annoyed that the Gujarat carnage was so unambiguously started by Muslims with their massacre of Hindu pilgrims, mostly women and children. They were interested in continuing with the camps because they had started siphoning off a portion of government funds and relief. The Godhra Riots: Sifting Fact from Fiction by Nicole Elfi, 2013. How to classify those 250 victims? Madhu Purnima Kishwar: Modi, Muslims and Media. The Commission consisted Justice G T Nanavati and Justice KG Shah. Ch. It is not as though a crime is a crime only if it is committed against the minorities and not so if it is committed against the majority community. At least 2,000 kar sevaks, who had gone to attend the Purnahuti Maha Yagna at the instance of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, had boarded the train from Ayodhya. Upset over the verdict in the 2002 Godhra train burning case in which 11 convicts were sentenced to death and another 20 given life term,Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind (JUH) on Monday pledged to help all the 31 convicts appeal in a higher court. For four years after the BJP's accession to power in 1998, in spite of numerous massacres of Hindus by Muslim terrorists, the Indian Muslims were left alone. Malhotra , Reported in Times of India,17/12/1990. Modi, Muslims and media: Voices from Narendra Modi's Gujarat. Most horrific was the attackers’ act of not allowing anyone to escape and watching with their eyes 59 Hindus roasting to death, crying with pain, pleading for mercy... Can anyone imagine 2,000 Hindus burning to death 59 Muslims at Karachi Railway Station in Pakistan? Elst, Koenraad. Munshi, Indian Constitutional Documents: Pilgrimage to Freedom, 1902-1950, Internationally influential media like the Washington Post copied from an Islamist website rumors about Hindu provocations behind the Godhra carnage, falsely claiming a Gujarati journalist as source, and never publishing a correction when the journalist in question denied ever having put out such a story. Publication: UNI Date: March 8, 2002 also reprinted at, The arguments they put forth to rubbish the charge of pre-planned attack by a group of miscreants (some with pronounced Congress Party links) not only added insult to injury but also revealed the extent to which the, Kishwar, Madhu (2014). ", If "someone else is driving a car and we’re sitting behind, even then if a puppy comes under the wheel, will it be painful or not? The camps had also become important showpieces for certain NGOs. Prof. Dr Suvarna Raval, “Dalits Suffered Heavily During Gujarat Riots” Mumbai Tarun Bhara. So, Muslims committed a pogrom, and then riots ensued; big riots but by no means “unprecedented”. Voices from Narendra Modi’s Gujarat, Manushi Publications, Delhi 2014. "It is very strange and saddening to see that when such acts are perpetrated against the minorities, all political leaders rush to issue statements of condemnation. 11 of the 31 convicts were given the death penalty while the remaining were given life imprisonment. The details were later published at the recommendation of the National Human Rights Commission. What is the 2002 Godhra train burning case? “Dalits suffered heavily during Gujarat riots. KM Munshi quoted from Kishwar, Madhu (2014). For example, the head of the NCM at the time of the riots, John Joseph, noted in April 2002, “As on April 6, 126 persons were killed in police firing, of which 77 were Hindus”. Modi, Muslims and media: Voices from Narendra Modi's Gujarat. Therefore, the theory that the post-Godhra riots of 2002 were part of a well-crafted BJP conspiracy is all bunkum. Justice Nanavati is a retired Judge of the Supreme Court. p.209, Kishwar, Madhu (2014). Simpi (Witness-25). Of course it is. (...). BJP leader V.K. They were suddenly back in business, getting invited all the way to Washington to tell their scare stories. The television news channels showed the pictures of the burning S/6 coach and the dead bodies throughout the day. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines. Voices from Narendra Modi’s Gujarat, Manushi Publications, Delhi 2014. The Godhra Train Burning was an incident that occurred on the morning of 27 February 2002, in which 59 Hindu pilgrims and karsevaks returning from Ayodhya, were killed in a fire inside the Sabarmati Express train near the Godhra railway station in the Indian state of Gujarat. When they went in the gali, they found the dead body of Vanzara outside the mosque. The court, has, however, upheld the life sentence awarded to 20 others by the special SIT court. The state used to explode into violence every second month? Voices from Narendra Modi’s Gujarat, Manushi Publications, Delhi 2014. The train had arrived at Godhra station in Gujarat just then. Hindus had often refused to be provoked into taking their anger out on their Muslim neighbours, e.g. The Godhra burning was investigated by a SIT and on March 1, 2011, a special court convicted 31 people and acquitted 63 while accepting the prosecution's argument that there was a conspiracy to burn Coach S6 of the Sabarmati Express. Godhra train burning was an incident that occurred on the morning of 27 February 2002, in which 59 people died in a fire inside the Sabarmati Express train near the Godhra railway station in the Indian state of Gujarat . The riots broke out on the evening of February 2 and continued for 2-3 months across the state. Godhra city had communal riots in 1947, 52, 59, 61, 65, 67, 72, 74, 80, 83, 89 and 90. Some people have decided to pillory one man for their vested interests. Tens of thousands were rendered homeless as well. Which newspaper article stated that the most violent events took place following provocations by leaders of this sort? As soon as the media persons moved away, she instantly stopped howling. NDTV, the most steadfast mouthpiece of the Congress Party, played a key role in creating a distorted discourse on Godhra carnage because of the prestige it then carried. Who evoked the dead on the Hindu side? This should be kept in mind when assessing the Hindu loss of self-control after the Godhra massacre. The second incident took place around 11 a.m. A Muslim owner of an Eicher truck was surrounded by a Hindu mob. They alleged that the Godhra incident was due to government’s failure or complicity, not a planned attack by Muslims. Fifty-nine kar sevaks were killed after a coach of the Sabarmati Express was set ablaze in February 2002, triggering one of the worst communal riots witnessed in the country. p.210, with quote from K.M. Justice Nanavati and Justice Mehta, “Part I: Sabarmati Express Train Incident of Godhra,” , quoted from Kishwar, Madhu (2014). Here’s all you need to know about the 2002 Godhra train burning case: On the morning of February 27, 2002, a coach of the the Sabarmati Express — Coach S6 — was set ablaze and 59 passengers travelling in that coach were charred to death. Though disgusting, it was at the same time quite funny to watch the extreme inventiveness of the secularists in blaming the victims. also at. After handfuls, dozens or hundreds of Hindus were massacred, Hindus all over India maintained calm and refused to take their anger out on their Muslim neighbors. Were all of these caused by the Rathyatra ?" It's a crime against humanity: Jayalalithaa, http://www.seacoastonline.com/article/20020228/news/302289980, Gujarat after Godhra: real violence, selective outrage, "Personal experience of interaction with Modi", Politics By Other Means: An Analysis of Human Rights Watch Reports on India, https://en.wikiquote.org/w/index.php?title=Godhra_train_burning&oldid=2873818, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. 11 Lalu Yadav, in fact, rushed the Committee to release its interim report just ahead of the 2005 assembly polls in Bihar. Few politicians, human rights activists or media persons have had a kind word for them. This was followed by serial bomb blasts. ... the appointment of the U.C. HRW’s most extensive publication on India was its 2002 report on the Gujarat violence. We would like to show you a description here but the site won’t allow us. The moment retaliatory violence sparked off in the rest of Gujarat, the Godhra massacre was underplayed and sought to be erased from public memory as if it had nothing to do with the riots that followed. On seeing this, Hindus began shouting for help. If I wanted to escape scrutiny, why would I appoint a commission to probe charges against me? Many of the bodies were charred horrifically. quoted in Madhu Purnima Kishwar: Modi, Muslims and Media. Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya on the Sabarmati Express train were attacked. No one talks about the fact that we maintained absolute peace even after that provocation. Koenraad Elst: Religious Cleansing of Hindus, 2004, in: Elst, K. The Problem with Secularism (2007). ‘Did you forgive Rajiv Gandhi for what happened in 1984?’ I knew even as I asked the question that I would get the usual reply. There was no retaliation after the numerous selective mass killings of Hindu and Sikh villagers or bus passengers in Jammu and Kashmir, nor after the attacks on Hindu pilgrims there; nor after the Mumbai bomb blasts (March 1993); nor after the bomb attack against a BJP gathering in Coimbatore (February 1998); nor after the attacks on the Parliament buildings of Srinagar and Delhi (September and December 2001). p. 204. Such acts of senseless violence should be condemned no matter who is responsible for them and no matter who the victims are. In the original East-European setting, if 58 Jews got killed, that was called a pogrom, right? Two thousand people were standing on all sides of the compartment to prevent the karsevaks from running away and saving their lives from the fire. A detailed examination of the events shows that elements of both planning by Hindu extremists and a spontaneous uprising of the populace at the outrage of Godhra were present in the Gujarat violence. Some individuals who had participated in the conspiracy appear to be involved in the heinous act of setting coach S/6 on fire. They told us about the earlier riots in which the Hindus were mostly at the receiving end. The court also acquitted 63 people in the case. On 3 rd or 4 th of March, I entered Shah Alam dargah, which had been converted into a refugee camp. A lady was sitting with him with a tape recorder tutoring this Muslim from Karnataka to say, “I am so angry at the riots that I am going to become a terrorist.” Teesta has a real perverse streak in her. That would help us learn from our mistakes. But from day one of its appointment, the Congress Party and its allied NGOs attacked the Commission and questioned the integrity of the appointed judge. MANY people have argued that the Godhra train burning incident in which 59 Hindu kar sevaks died was as brutal and violent as the communal riots it triggered in Gujrat. The resolution of it all, though forecasts a ray of light, but it also exposed many vulnerabilities of the system. Afterwards, the Supreme Court constituted a Special Investigation Team. p. 194, with reference to Justice Nanavati and Justice Mehta, “Part I: Sabarmati Express Train Incident of Godhra,”. On one side of the dargah there is a big room where one lady named Belim was briefing the press and giving highly exaggerated accounts of what had happened. The February 2002 Sabarmati train fire, which killed 59 kar sevaks and triggered large-scale riots, was part of a "conspiracy" hatched by Congress's elected members from Godhra, according to … For all the latest What Is News, download Indian Express App. Injuries were suffered by another 48 passengers in the train. There was fire inside and armed Muslims outside. The fact was that 90% of the people killed in Hyderabad were Hindus. Why was it necessary if they were the main aggressors? p.198. New Delhi: On Sunday morning, a railway bogie was set on fire in Vadodara to recreate the 2002 Godhra train burning – so that makers of biopic on … This incident was used to organize large scale massacres of Muslims across the state. This too enraged the mob and they went on a rampage. He even compared the Godhra riots with the. The relief camps had become a big scam. Some of these riots were far more deadly than the 2002 outburst. Voices from Narendra Modi’s Gujarat, Manushi Publications, Delhi 2014. ‘I don’t know what happened in 1984,’ she said, ‘but I was in Ahmedabad in 2002 and I know what happened and blame Modi for it.’ It was a response I had heard many times and yet it never failed to annoy me. July 21, 2002. Coach S-6 of the Sabarmati Express, in which 59 people, mostly 'kar sevaks' returning from Ayodhya were travelling, was burnt on February 27, 2002 at the Godhra station, triggering riots in the state. When measured just by numbers what happened to the Sikhs in 1984 was twice as bad. The 31 convicts were convicted under the Indian Penal Code sections related to criminal conspiracy, murder and attempt to murder. In three days more than 3,000 Sikhs were killed in Delhi alone and not one Hindu. The Centre in 2005 informed Rajya Sabha that the riots claimed the lives of 254 Hindus and 790 Muslims. Godhra train burning. GODHRA TRAIN BURNING. But something was missing. Justice Nanavati and Mehta quoted from Kishwar, Madhu (2014). Do we hear the names of earlier chief ministers of Gujarat under whose charge hundreds of riots took place in post-Independence India? A shattering piece of news: 58 Hindu pilgrims had been burned alive in a train. (p.287). Narendra Modi: A political biography. Modi, Muslims and media: Voices from Narendra Modi's Gujarat. A group of Muslims dragged him into the gali near their masjid. Marino, Andy (2014). K. 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