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Sadhvi adds to list of Godhra stories
February 22, 2005 20:39 IST
A sadhvi who had travelled on the S 7 coach of the ill-fated Sabarmati Express told the Godhra Commission on Tuesday that she had seen a violent crowd of around 2,000 people pelt stones at the train before the S 6 coach was torched.
Fifty-nine persons died in the fire that gutted the coach on February 27, 2002.
Sadhvi Meenakshi Devi told the two-man inquiry commission comprising Justice (retd) G T Nanavati and Justice (retd) K Shah that the stone pelting incident occurred after some youths in the train had a scuffle with a tea vendor at the Godhra Railway station.
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Meenakshi said the train was stopped by pulling the chain only because some of the youths involved in the spat were left behind on Godhra platform.
She said after they boarded, the train did not move.
However, as per the prosecution's theory and the charge sheets framed by the Special Investigation Team probing the train carnage case, the chain was pulled by one of the 'core group' members who were part of the conspiracy to attack and torch the train.
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Meenakshi said as soon as the stone pelting began the passengers closed the doors and windows but could hear commotion outside.
She also saw two passengers run from S-6 coach towards S-7 shouting that the train was on fire.
Claiming to have taken the first pictures of the burning train, she alleged one of them had been tampered with after a Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader took it from her.
Meenakshi also said that she was not connected to the VHP or any other Hindutva organisation.