12th October 2013
This is how the train MIGHT HAVE gotten burnt. In any event, no evidence exists of any prior intent to kill.
Raju Bishankumar Bhargava, the then SP of Godhra, says in his deposition, "I reached the burning coach at about 8.30 am. I saw people with black (charred) faces and with some burn injuries on the head coming out of the coach. I saw ten to twelve passengers coming out of the coach. The injuries which I had noticed on the passengers were on the upper part of their bodies. I did not notice any injury below their waists. I did not see any flames rising in that area of the coach which I could see from the door. I saw only smoke there. I did not notice any flames on the floor of the area between the two doors. I also did not smell any inflammable fuel like petrol, kerosene or diesel. I did not see any person from the Muslim community preventing the passengers in S-6 and S-7 from coming out of their coaches."
Passengers on the Sabarmati Express confirm this in their respective depositions. Says kar sevak Mahesh Chaudhary, who was returning from Ayodhya, "Before jumping out of the coach, I did not see any fluid on the floor of the coach. I did not see any flames while I was inside the train. I saw only smoke." Savitaben Sadhu, Babubhai Patel and Dwarkabhai Patel, also passengers on the train, depose likewise.
Savitaben did not recall seeing "any person coming inside the coach from outside and pouring any fluid". Similarly, Babubhai remembers neither seeing any person in a Muslim dress or with beard inside the coach nor any such Muslim rushing inside the coach. Dwarkabhai too "did not see any flames" when he was inside the coach. "I (also) did not notice any fluid being poured inside (when I was in the coach)," he has told the commission in his testimony. "I had not seen any person sprinkling any fluid or putting fire to the coach." [Source]
We should now revert to Sanjiv Bhatt’s statements:
Q: Then why did it become so grave that it led to train-burning? Do you think there was a provocation?
A: Well there was a provocation. The train came late by few hours – let’s say for about more than four hours. This train would have ideally come at the middle of the night. Instead it came at 7’o clock in the morning. So it was tea-time and people, who were returning from Ayodhya, got down. They were people from the Bajrang Dal and the VHP who came in groups and were returning back from a mission where they felt empowered. When they got down they started shouting slogans like ‘Jay Shree Ram’ etc which is normal. But there should have been police bandobast. So when these people got down for tea there was an altercation with a tea vendor. They asked him to say Jay Shree Ram and then they beat the old man. Meanwhile a young Muslim girl intervened and she was also manhandled. During the fracas she fled. Some Muslim tea vendor boys thought the girl had been dragged into the train compartment. Rumour spread and the mob started gathering Signal Falia, which is the outer signal of Godhra railway station. Stone pelting started in the belief that the girl was in. People in the compartment downed shutters locking the door from inside and by the time probably someone had threw a burning rag into one of the windows. And that led to the vinyl coating getting burnt letting out lot of smoke though there was no fire. 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. Nor they could open the compartment door fearing stone-pelting. The flames started only when someone opened the door which helped oxygen being sucked into the compartment resulting in fire. And that’s when entire compartment started burning. That was the flashpoint.
Q: Eyewitnesses had seen (as reported by Uday Mahurkar of India Today) that arsonists were seen carrying petrol cans and approaching the train.
A: It was all planted evidence that petrol was purchased a day earlier for this purpose. It was local Muslims and the corporators who tried to get the fire engines out and did best to douse the flames. They were the ones who were in repeated contact with district SP Raju Bhargav “please send someone here as the situation is getting out of hand.” So there is no question of conspiracy.
Q: So the investigation therefore was not properly handled.
A: Handled deviously. Properly handled is one thing. It was not bungled up but handled deviously. “It was given a specific direction.”
Q: That means?
A: That same day a statement came from the CM that it was “ISI conspiracy”. Now from where did it dawn upon him that it was an ISI conspiracy? When we in the intelligence knew not? And investigators could not make head or tail of it. In the afternoon when I spoke with the SP and asked him about the loss of lives, he said, “I had just entered it (compartment) and very hot inside. Not more than 15 to 20. Actually when the bodies were brought out we could know that it was much more. The ISI again was the creation of Modi. And it was picked up by investigators.
Q: So in other words it became an opportune incident for Modi?
A: It was a very unfortunate incident which was cleverly used. That which could have destroyed him completely was used by him cleverly. Something which became his USP. And he has that knack of turning adversity into opportunity. That luck he always had.
Q: Within hours of riots breaking out, RAF was deployed both in Godhra and Ahmedabad, Army was called, shoot-at-sight orders issued. Within three days situation was brought under control. How can Modi be a conspirator in killings Muslims?
A: Let’s break up your question. Your question is premised on so many untruths and half-truths. Question itself is wrongly put. RAF was only called on the night 27th at our behest for the next day bandh which should not have been called. Army was called on 1st with a requisition being sent and some local units coming. Actual deployment started on 2nd. All that is on record. Maximum damage took place on 28th, the night intervening 28th and 1st. That was the period when there was no deployment of additional forces. That is when the Government of Gujarat and administration failed “deliberately”.
There were so many deliberate acts: First supporting the bandh call; second not persuading BJP to withdraw the bandh; third getting dead bodies from Godhra to Ahmedabad out in a funeral procession. These things are against tenets of policing and any man who is in police or intelligence will know they are sure recipe for disaster. But this was done against advice.
Q: Against the advice of …?
A: Against the advice of police officials; against the intelligence. “Please don’t get the dead bodies as there was bandh call.” You are creating a situation whereby the police is asked to look the other way letting lumpen elements and goons getting a free hand. There was tremendous grief and anger. Yes army was called within three days and intensity of violence came down in urban areas like Ahmedabad, Baroda. But it spread to rural areas, the tribal belt.
Godhra should not have happened. It happened under Modi’s watch. Why was police not present at the Godhra railway station when kar sevaks were coming in the morning? Under normal operating procedure police bandobast had to be there when such groups were coming. Local police should have come on their own. Why didn’t they? It happened under your (Modi) watch and you are directly responsible, not vicariously.
Everyone talks about post Godhra. Talk about Godhra. Once the Godhra happened it was Modi’s duty to see that violence did not spread and contained quickly. Though local administration could be blamed where Modi gets the blame is post Godhra. He as chief minister should have taken immediate steps given the potential of incident snow-balling. It ought to have been tackled in Godhra itself.
Q: So it turned into a tinderbox?
A: This is what PC Pandey told him. He used the word ‘tinder box’. If you get the dead bodies to Ahmedabad it will turn into a virtual tinder box. That is what he said in so many words.
Q: So Modi should have paid heed to what not to do?
A: Modi wanted to deflect anger somewhere else. That evening of 27th he had gone to Godhra and was beaten up. At the railway station.
Q: Who was beaten up?
A: NARENDRA DAMODARDAS MODI was beaten up by the kith and kin of the deceased and kar sevaks because they felt it had happened during his watch. He had experienced the anger first hand. He was a fledgling chief minister still trying to find his feet just being elected from Rajkot and he thought this is his end of his political career. Had he become the brunt of anger of that failure it would have been end of Modi because there were politicians in the BJP who were ready to cut him into size. Somewhere there was the question of his survival. But that deflection (of anger) took a form and shape which consumed so many lives. But he didn’t mind as it would give him an image as flag-bearer of Hindutva.
Now, my tentative conclusion:
An INCIDENT happened. The Godhra coach S6 DID get burnt. This was not a "holocaust" in that there was no INTENT to kill.
The whole thing hinges around mens rea, the intent.
Modi declared on 27 February by mid-day that this was a deliberate attack on India by ISI. Proof? ZERO.
He said it was pre-planned. Proof? ZERO.
He said people came from outside threw stuff inside. Forensic Lab rejected that idea.
Then he said people came inside from outside. But NO ONE SAW ANYONE. And it is impossible to carry petrol into the compartment with 7 large cans weighing 100 kilos in broad daylight without anyone seeing it. So his theory is FALSE, again.
SO WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED?
The precise manner in which the coach got burnt is still not known/ proven.
There seems to be no doubt that fire was thrown from outside into the train. That's a crime in itself, but it is at least partly mitigated (in a legal sense) by the severe aggravation by karsevaks who had harassed two Muslim women and misbehaved with many others.
In the heat of the moment, there was all kinds of violence from BOTH sides.
But the fire from outside likely led to the coach being burnt. I say likely since there is still NO CONCLUSIVE SCIENTIFIC PROOF about how it occurred. Like sometimes someone does something really stupid and that blows up into a big thing. But there was no EVIL intent, or at least no PLANNED evil intent. None that I am able to decipher from the facts of the case.
Modi, in his hatred for Muslims, LIED THROUGH HIS NOSE and EXCITED THE ENTIRE GUJARAT. He had NO PROOF of this being a planned killing. Till today I can’t see ANY mens rea, or intent to kill so many people.
This really bad INCIDENT should have been contained by Modi through tight management of an inquiry. Modi had NO BUSINESS to inflame passions, keep talking to VHP the whole day, organise an official VHP and BJP bandh. He also did not pre-emptively arrest people, and handed over dead bodies to VHP. That was absolutely incorrect.
My point is that if this was NOT an attack on India's sovereignty by Pakistan (which is what Modi made it out to be), then it was a tragic accident under the heat of the moment. Such bad things do happen, sometimes, and law should be allowed to take its course. This is no reason to kill another 1000.
Modi is a criminal because he AGGRAVATED an already bad situation and provoked the killing of hundreds others. The brutality which he personally supervised (by preventing ANY preventative police action) was CRIMINAL. No other word for such a holocaust exists. The post-Godhra incident WAS a holocaust since there was mensrea. INTENT TO KILL.