Ahmedabad: 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 on Monday by a slew of events
with VHP taking out a rally and NGOs 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, judgements 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.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad (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 today 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.
Suspended IPS 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.
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 (SIT) headed by former CBI chief R K
Raghavan to investigate nine major cases, which included
Godhra carnage and Sardarpura cases.
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.