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Godhra Carnage

Godhra Carnage

Publication: Vishwa Samvad Kendra, Gujarat
URL: http://www.vskgujarat.com/godhraandaftermath/godhracarnage.htm

Terrorism in Godhra victimising Hindus is not new. It dates back to 1927. Various incidents which are noted in the records of Govt. show that Muslim terrorists have been responsible for acts of terrorism some of which took place in the years 1927, 1946, 48, 65, 80, 90, 92, 2002. People in Gujarat know well about all these acts of violence.

In 1980 a similar attack on Hindus was organised in which 5 Hindus including two Hindu Children aged 5 and 7 were burnt alive. A Gurudwara was also set on fire. 40 Hindu shops were burnt down. Similar ghastly incidents of killings are on record.

In a ghastly incident, which has shocked the collective, conscience of the entire nation, at least 58 people (inclusive of 25 women and 14 children) were burnt alive and many others were injured when the Ahmedabad- bound Sabarmati Express was stoned and set on fire by a mob near Godhra on Wednesday i.e. 27th February, 2002 morning. The victims were mostly VHP volunteers returning from Ayodhya with their families after participating in a religious ceremony for the construction of the Ram Mandir.

The dead included 25 women and 14 children, most of whom were in the S- 6 coach which was completely charred as the mob put petrol cans to deadly use. About 36 persons were rushed to Godhra Civil Hospital with burn injuries. Survivors said that the train was first pelted with stones and petrol bombs were hurled at around 7.30 am, couple of hundred meters away from Godhra, as it left the railway station.

The train was stopped near Singal Falia, a notorious area of Godhra, as someone apparently pulled the chain. A mob rushed towards the two coaches S6 and S7 pelting stones initially. Once the windows were broken they threw petrol bombs inside. Later, said survivors, S6 coach was doused with petrol and diesel from outside and set on fire even as the passengers looked on haplessly, screaming for help. About 30 persons were charred to death and many more collapsed while making their way out of the coach, their lungs filled with smoke. Actually the count was difficult because most of the bodies were in a heap, totally burnt. Smoke was billowing out of the half burnt bodies till about noon. Godhra was once again made the target for this inhuman heinous burning of live individuals. Perhaps even after an exhaustive search no parallel to this incident could be found anywhere in the world.
There are several reasons to believe that this was a pre-planned conspiracy as could be seen from the following facts :-

1. of a particular religion were asked to get down at the previous station of Dahod.

2. patients of a particular community were discharged from the civil hospital of Godhra one day before 27th Not a single case from a particular community was registered on 27th Feb.

3. a single student or a teacher of a particular community was present in the schools of Godhra on 27th Feb.

4. clearly shows that not only it was a pre-planned attack but many others were aware that something is likely to happen on that day.

5. five people are likely to have foreign connections. It is suspected that this attack was a part of ISI design.

6. L. K. Advani, Shri George Fernandes, Narendra Modi and the BJP president, have indicated that ISI might have masterminded this attack.

7. chief minister of Gujarat, Shri Chhabildas Mehta has warned that such elements should not be allowed to succeed in the land of Gujarat.

8. Herald and Gujarat Samachar, in their editions dated 4th March, had also indicated that ISI is behind this attack.

Reaction in the State :

There was very strong reaction of this tragedy in the entire state of Gujarat. As the news began spreading through the TV channels, even small villages in the entire state were shocked and violence began. The most frightening reports came from the villages of Pandorwada-Lambadiya in panchmahal district. The residential colonies were gutted down, people were killed and burnt alive. At least 40 villages were placed under curfew. Even the city like Rajkot, which always remained peaceful, was kept under curfew. This time, the reaction in rural areas was simply unprecedented.

Reaction of Political Leaders :

Immediately after the news of Godhra massacre reached Gandhinagar, Health Minister of Gujarat Govt. Ashok Bhatt and the minister-in-charge for Panchmahal district, Shri Bhupendra Lakhawala reached Godhra. Even Shri Narendra Modi reached there by the Helicopter. After taking the note of the intensity of the tragedy and its likely reaction he warned that strict measures would be taken against those who would take the law in their own hands, gave shoot-at-sight orders and also demanded extra forces and army from the central government. The union defence minister, Shri George Fernandes reached Gujarat on 1st March and toured entire riot affected area. On the same afternoon army was deployed in the affected area. Home Minister Shri L. K. Advani travelled extensively through the riot affected parts of Godhra, Ahmedabad and Bhavnagar. He supported the efforts of Gujarat. Government to re-establish law and order and announced that nobody would be allowed to take law in his hands. Gujarat Government announced the assistance of Rs. 200,000 each for those died in Godhra and Rs. 100,000 each for those who died elsewhere. As usual the reaction of Congress party was on predicted line. Neither Sonia Gandhi, nor any state Congress Leader deplored Godhra incident but they simply criticized the reaction of Gujarat to this tragedy. Congress had also boycotted the all-party meeting convened by the Chief Minister to discuss the current situation in Gujarat and in turn tried to show that the Congress party was interested in the welfare of only one community. Shri Amarsingh Chowdhary accused that the riots in Gujarat are being carried out with the backing of the state government (Jai Hind 5th March, 2002). But after realizing the strong reaction of Hindu society towards Godhra incident, he also had to accept that it was a well-planned conspiracy. While the entire Hindu society was experiencing the pain of Godhra tragedy, anti-Hindu secularists were busy in getting political mileage from the entire events. According to the Deccan Herald (5th March, 2002), Shri Jyoti Basu has asked for the dismissal of state government and former Prime Minister, Shri H. K. Devegauda demanded to announce entire riot affected area as "Disturbed area". Even Shri Surjeet (CPM), Shri Mulayamsingh Yadav, Shri Amarsingh and Shri A. B. Bardhan also demanded dismissal of Narendra Modi government.
History of Muslim Terrorism in Godhra from 1927 to 2002

Godhra is main centre of Panchmahal District, which is considered to be communally very sensitive. Details of communal riots/atrocities by Muslims are appended below.

1927-28  Murder of Shri P. M. Shah, a leading local representative of Hindus.

1946 Mr. Sadva Hazi & Mr. Chudighar, pro Pakistani Muslim leaders were responsible for attack on a Parsi Solapuri fozdar during communal riots. After partition, Mr. Chudighar left for Pakistan.

1948 Mr. Sadva Hazi conspired an attack on District collector Shri Pimputkar in, 1948 but his bodyguard saved him at the cost of his own life. After that Mr. Sadva Hazi also left for Pakistan in 1948.

On 24-3-48 one Hindu was stabbed to death near a mosque in Jahurpur area. Around 2000 houses of Hindus were burnt besides Hindu Temples. District collector Shri Pimputtkar could save the remaining areas belonging to Hindus by imposing curfew, which lasted for six months.

1965 Shops belonging to Hindus were set ablaze near Police Chowki - No. 7 by throwing incendiary material from near-by two Muslim Houses viz. Bidani & Bhopa. It could be possible because of Congress MLA belonging to minority. PSI of this Police Chowki which was near by Railway Station was also attacked by Muslim unsocial elements.
1980 A similar attack was made on Hindus on 29-10-80, which started from the Bus Station of Godhra. This attack was planned by Muslim miscreants; who were involved in anti social activities near Station Road area.

Five Hindus including two children of 5 and 7 year age were burnt alive. A Gurudwara was also set on fire, in Shikari Chal of this area. Forty shops belonging to Hindus were also set on fire in station area. Due to these communal riots, Godhra was put under curfew for a year, which severely affected the Business and Industries.

1990 Four Hindu Teachers were murdered by Muslim miscreants in Saifia Madresa in Vhorvada area of Godhra on 20-11-'90. One Hindu Tailor was also stabbed to death in this area. All this was done by Muslim antisocial elements at the instance of the congress MLA of the area.

1992 More than 100 houses belonging to Hindus were set on fire near Railway Station in the year 1992 to snatch this area from Hindus. All this was done by Muslim terrorists. This area, now a days, is lying vacant as most of the Hindu families have shifted elsewhere.

2002 Three bogies of Ahmedabad bound Sabarmati express were set on fire on 27-02-02 by Muslim miscreants. Municipal members, railway officers & employees belonging to minority community, tea stall owners, auto rickshaw drivers and Muslim antisocial elements residing nearby, had a plan to set on fire the entire train but could not do so because the train was late for four hours and they could not take the advantage of darkness of night. Following are the points for serious consideration in this incident.
(1) This train was attacked near an open land belonging to Mr. Sikandar Pathan wherefrom weapons were also seized.

(2) P.S.I. Shri Sharma was attacked with naked sword on the Railway Station in 1980 by Aminabibi and her sons, who were operating gambling clubs in Godhra. Mr. Jaspalsingh, the then Police Commissioner of Vadodara was also attacked with knife on the Railway Platform by antisocial elements operating Tea Stall on platform.

(3) These antisocial Muslim elements have also attacked and injured ticket checkers about two months back. P.S.I. arrested them but the Railway Police Officer who is a Muslim, got them released. However, after a strong protest they were rearrested. This had resulted in fear of their life in Railway employees.

(4) After this brutal attack on the train, no effective rescue efforts were taken by Railway Police Officers for quite long time. Out of 30 Railway Security guards present on station, only 3 with sticks, had gone to the place of attack. It is now to be considered why they had helped this way in a preplanned attack.

(5) The man behind this Muslim terrorism is Pakistani Citizen Mr. Mohammed Badanga who migrated from Pakistan in 1965. He was granted Indian Citizenship at the behest of Mr. Pilu Modi the then M. P.. Mr. Badanga had promoted the ISI sponsored Terrorism which resulted in attack on the Sabarmati Express on 27-02-2002.

This clearly goes to establish that the Hindu Psyche had reached its flash point because of the history of atrocities; hence the spontaneous reaction as witnessed by Gujarat. This could certainly not be attributed to organised-planned-efforts of any Hindu Organisation.

History of the Hindus in Gujarat reveal that only when the Hindu sentiments are hurt, the out burst remains spontaneous, natural and vigorous. Otherwise, as could be seen during natural calamities like the earthquake, draught etc., both the communities have worked hand-in-hand without any problem, leave aside enmity.

The government report on the extent of damage caused to the life and property is very well elucidated below.

Details of Damage caused to the life & Property.

As on 7th March 2002, a brief account of the damage (other than the initial Godhra incident) in the state is as follows.

* 607 deaths out of which 99 were due to police firing. They include 270 deaths in Ahmedabad.

* 820 injured out of which 321 were in Ahmedabad.

* 2459 houses, 1082 shops, 1084 larry gallas burnt.

* 691 shops ransacked/burnt.

* 12 buses & 936 other vehicles were damaged/burnt.

Damage caused in the heart of Ahmedabad

The Chandra Vilas Hotel, (A hotel 102 years old) C. Somabhai Tea, Maharanidas Vallabhdas (a shop 75 years old), Kishore Trading Co., Desai Pen, Master Watch Co., Jayant Pen House, Khadi Gramodyog Mandir and many more shops of repute were burnt. Many shops dealing in timber, such as Tiku Traders, Poonam Traders, Godown of Apline Co., Durga Timber Mart - situated on Jagannathji Road were burnt to ashes.

The godown and office of Sundek Laminates, near Vishala Hotel and many shops of Hindus got destroyed in the flames of communalism.

Government action to check the agitation in the state

* In the present case, the curfew was clamped within four hours in Godhra on the same day. Compared to this, there was delay in ordering curfew in the earlier incidents. The grievance for such delay was reported before the Enquiry Commission.

* The complaint about inaction from the Police authorities and the local administration were made before the Inquiry Commission. In the present case in Gujarat, the Law and Order Enforcing Authority has taken a proactive stand to curb the violence effectively. Police Authorities have fired more than 3900 rounds; they have used more than 6500 rounds of tear gas and arrested more than 2800 people. One should also take a note of the fact that 90 people have been killed in police firing which shows that police showed no lenient approach towards elements spreading violence, arson and looting. It is also very pertinent to note that the geographical areas under grip of such unto word incident were much larger in 2002, compared to the earlier incidents of 1969 and 1985.

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