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10th anniversary of Godhra carnage today

Last updated on: February 27, 2012 08:12 IST

10th anniversary of Godhra carnage today

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The 10th anniversary of Godhra train carnage, which left 59 karsevaks dead and triggered one of worst communal riots in Gujarat that claimed the lives of over 1200 Muslims, will be marked today by a slew of events with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad taking out a rally and Non-Governmental Organisations coming together to demand justice for the riot victims.

The aftermath of the burning of S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express returning from Ayodhya near the Godhra railway station on February 27, 2002 continues to haunt Chief Minister Narendra Modi with activists accusing him, his cabinet colleagues and other government functionaries of deliberate inaction in containing the anti-minority riots.

Though a decade has gone by, judgments have been pronounced only in few riot cases. Even the Nanavati Commission appointed by the state government to enquire into the post-Godhra riots has not submitted its report.

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Image: A file photo of the Godhra carnage site
Photographs: Reuters

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The VHP, family members of Godhra carnage victims and the NGOs working for the post-Godhra riots affected persons have lined up events for the day.

VHP international general secretary Praveen Togadia will lead a rally to the S-6 Coach kept now kept at the Godhra railway yard and pay homage to those killed in the incident.

As many as 45 NGOs on Sunday came together to commence a 10-day event 'Insaf ki dagar par', that would focus on the 2002 riots and the subsequent pursuit of justice for victims. Besides, many other peace rallies, sufi sangeet meets, exhibitions, poetry recitation, dialogues with the victims and prayers have been planned by different bodies.

The victims of Gulburga Society at Meghaninagar here where ex-MP Ehsan Jaffery was killed by rioters along with 68 others, will gather at the Society and read out verses from the holy Quran.

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Image: A file photograph of the Sabarmati Express that was set on fire in Godhra
Photographs: Reuters

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Suspended Indian Police Service officer Sanjiv Bhatt had alleged that Modi and others were complacent with the rioters and Modi gave directions to police and other officers 'to allow Hindus  vent out their anger' at a meeting on February 27, 2002 which he claims to have attended but it was denied by Modi.

Two commissions had probed the Godhra incident but arrived at different conclusions.

While the U C Banerjee Commission, appointed by the then Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav said the fire in the S-6 coach was accidental, the state-appointed commission comprising of retd Justices G T Nanavati and Akshay Mehta in its part I of the report said the carnage was pre-planned.

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Image: Suspended Indian Police Service officer Sanjiv Bhatt


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In the last decade, verdicts on some of the important cases have come which include the Godhra carnage case where 11 people have been sentenced to death and 20 others given life imprisonment by a trial court.

In the Best Bakery and Bilkis Bano cases which were tried outside Gujarat, nine and 11 persons have been sentenced to life imprisonment respectively. Last year a special court awarded life imprisonment to 31 people in the Sardarpuara post-Godhra riot case in which 33 people were burnt to death.

The Supreme Court in 2008 had appointed a Special Investigation Team headed by former CBI chief R K Raghavan to investigate nine major cases, which included Godhra carnage and Sardarpura cases.

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Image: Children, orphaned by post-Godhra riots, play at an orphanage in Anjar, Gujarat
Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters

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The other cases that the SIT has investigated and in which trial was on, include the Gulburg society as also Naroda Patiya where 95 persons were killed, Naroda Gam (11 deaths), Dipda Darwaja (11 deaths), Ode (30 deaths in two separate cases) and Prantij where four persons were killed including three British nationals.

The accused include politicians like MLA Maya Kodnani in Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gam cases, former VHP leaders Jaydeep Patel and Babu Bajrangi in Naroda Gam, and  Prahlad Gosa, former BJP MLA in Dipda Darwaja case.


Image: A file photo of a policeman inspecting the charred carriage of the Sabarmati Express
Photographs: Reuters

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Photographs: Reuters
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