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Sanjiv Bhatt’s assertion that “Not a single karsevak died due to burn injuries” is not supported by the available facts

Given the significant question about Modi's role (particularly in terms of the "pre-planning" theory) it is crucial to determine the PRECISE truth about the Godhra train burning incident.

Sanjiv Bhatt has said in an interview yesterday: "Not a single karsevak died due to burn injuries. All died due to asphyxia caused by smoke. So people died because of carbon monoxide poisoning."

This is quite a different story to the official one which (now) relies on petrol being brought into the train through a vestibule that was allegedly cut open.

The probem with the petrol theory is not so much the proof about use of petrol (although this, too is not quite self-evident) but the absence of witnesses who saw 100 kilos of petrol being smuggled in, or saw anyone cut open the vestibule. The Asst. Station Master was watching everything Cabin A. But Sanjiv Bhatt is disputing the inflammable liquid theory almost entirely.

If Sanjiv is right, then the fire was pretty much caused only by a burning rag thrown into the compartment.

Here's the relevant section of the Patel judgement:

– The Medical Officers have stated in para-18 of the P.M. Notes that all the external burn injuries were ante-mortem, but looking to the facts and situation, I am of the opinion that because of suffocation in the Coach, some of the deceased passengers might be died due to non-availability of sufficient Oxygen and the dead bodies of such deceased passengers might be come into contacts with flames subsequently. However, in any case, it makes no difference, because cause of death can be considered to be “alleged fire in the Coach”.

So SOME of the bodies got burnt (roasted) after death. MOST kar sevaks, however, did die from severe burn injuries.

In this regard, it remains true that the post mortem was not 'perfectly' conducted:

– Autopsy on dead bodies came to be conducted in very hazardous manner without any sufficient equipments and then, PM Notes came to be prepared on similar lines, mostly showing the external and internal parts of all the bodies as “charred/roasted”, all the injuries as “ante-mortem” and cause of death as “Shock due to extensive burn injuries”.[I] As per the prosecution case, in all 58 persons including male, female and children, were expired on the spot, in the Coach No. S-6 itself, because of extensive burn injuries and one injured expired subsequently on 3-4-2002, during the treatment. It is the further case of prosecution that the dead bodies were totally in charred condition and not at all possible to shift those bodies to nearest Civil Hospital for autopsy and therefore, it was decided to request the Civil Surgeon to send a team of Medical Officers to Railway Yard for autopsy on the dead bodies.

It is the further case of prosecution that the dead bodies were totally in charred condition and not at all possible to shift those bodies to nearest Civil Hospital for autopsy and therefore, it was decided to request the Civil Surgeon to send a team of Medical Officers to Railway Yard for autopsy on the dead bodies.

In para- 23 of the P.M. Notes, it has been opined that: “Cause of death is shock due to extensive burns”

High lights of Evidence of Medical Officers: In the depositions, the Medical Officers have opined that the burn injuries found on the bodies were sufficient to cause death in ordinary course of the nature. In view of the replies given by the Medical Officers and certain admissions made in their cross-examinations, it can be said that:

– Details noted in the Inquest panchnama, with regard to particular dead body, were not properly taken into consideration, at the time of autopsy.

– Autopsy on the dead bodies came to be done hurriedly and it was not done in a proper manner with perfection.

– Though requested by the police, post mortem was not carried out by panel of two doctors.

– No attempt was made by any Medical Officer, to collect blood or tissue samples from the dead bodies and to send it, to FSL for examination.

– Samples of clothes or other movable articles, found on the dead bodies, were neither taken nor sent to FSL.

– No attempt was made to know the presence of any inflammable liquid like petrol, diesel, kerosene, acid etc on the dead bodies. However, despite of above referred to irregularities and/or lapses on the part of the Medical Officers, it is crystal clear from the oral and documentary evidence that:

– The Medical Officers concerned were at the relevant time serving in the Government Hospitals.

– They were expert in the field having sufficient knowledge and experience.

– Autopsy, on the dead bodies done on the same day without any undue delay, near the place of incident.

– In any case, the defence has not denied the facts of burn injuries received by the passengers, due to fire in the Coach. It has also not been denied by the defence that the injuries were not sufficient to cause death.

HOW DO WE PROVE THAT DEATH IS BY ASPHYXIA, NOT BURNS?

1) Proof of vomiting: As you'll see from this forensics website, "Asphyxiation can often cause the victim to vomit, which will collect in the mouth and throat"

2) CO levels in blood: The other is a blood test. "CO levels are expressed as the percentage of the total Hb which is carrying CO. CO levels in fire fatalities are usually of the order of 50-60%. If death is solely due to CO poisoning, a blood saturation of at least 40% is required." [Source]

3) Other tests: Third "postmortem examination (including appropriate ancillary radiographic and laboratory studies)" [Source]

It appears to me that (a) there were no overt reported signs of choking/ vomiting among the dead bodies (since these would have otherwise been reported); (b) no tests of any sort were conducted to rule out asphyxia.

The latter is quite concerning since it is CRUCIAL to know the precise cause of death to understand what might have happened. Modi, in his undue haste to hand over the dead bodies (improperly) to VHP, seems to have prevented a proper post mortem, thus creating confusion 11 years after the incident.

On the basis of the relatively flimsy information that Modi's administration collected (no samples collected, no tests undertaken), however, I am unable to support Sanjiv's view that NOT A SINGLE kar sevak died of burn injuries – unless I'm provided alternate evidence. At least one kar sevak must surely have died from burns out of 58. Indeed, from the limited data on offer, MOST died from burns.

This is not a trivial matter as it goes to the HEART OF THE STORY about how the fire actually occurred, and how it killed so many people.

I will provide this post to Sanjiv so he can clarify.

ADDENDUM

In response to a request on FB earlier today, Sanjiv has clarified this (this clarification was provided before I wrote this post, but I saw it only after publishing the post):

The S-6 coach burst into flames owing to the Flashover Fire only after the door towards the Signal Falia side was opened from inside by one of the survivors, whom I had personally interviewed while in the IB. Temperatures during Flashover Fire within the S-6 coach would have ordinarily exceeded 500 °C .

I've sought further elaboration to explain how the entire team of doctors missed this basic fact (of asphyxiation)?

ADDENDUM

I've become more sympathetic to Sanjiv Bhatt's theory based on further data/analysis:

https://www.sabhlokcity.com/2013/10/iit-delhi-experts-have-rejected-outright-modis-assertions-about-the-godhra-train-burning/

https://www.sabhlokcity.com/2013/10/analysis-of-the-sanjiv-bhattiit-delhi-flashfire-theory-of-godhra-train-burning/

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Sanjeev Sabhlok

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2 thoughts on “Sanjiv Bhatt’s assertion that “Not a single karsevak died due to burn injuries” is not supported by the available facts
  1. SSRAT

    One of the victims died after one month of the train burning incident, it must because of severe burn injuries, if so what is to say that many of the victims also did not die due to burn injuries, I am sure many must have especially the younger men will probably not asphyxiate as others.

     
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