Godhra case conspiracy aimed at targeting 'karsevaks': Court



Ahmedabad: The aim of the criminal conspiracy in the 2002 Godhra train burning case was to target 'karsevaks' travelling in the Sabarmati Express, the special court has concluded in its judgement.

The court, on March 1, sentenced 11 accused to death and 20 others to life imprisonment. A copy of the judgement was made available today.

"The cause of fire which took place in coach S-6 was not short circuit or accidental because of any leakage of kerosene from stove of any passenger; but definitely petrol in huge quantity came to be poured inside the coach," the court has held.

"The target was not all passengers but definitely the karsevaks who were travelling in this train."

The conspiracy was hatched on the previous day by Haji Bilal, Faruk Bhana, Abdul Rajak Kurkur and Salim Panwala.

"As per the plan, Kurkur and Panwala both had gone to Kalabhai Petrol Pump on moped on 26-2-2002 around 10 p.m. taking with them other conspirators...in a tempo and purchased 140 litres loose petrol in different seven carboys."

Taking advantage of quarrel that took place on platform and misbehaviour by 'karsevaks' with Muslim girls, the absconding accused Panwala and the accused Mehbub Ahmed alias Latiko called people from nearby Signal Faliya, court holds.

"If there was no plan at all, it would have not been possible to gather Muslim persons with deadly weapons within five to six minutes and to reach near 'A' Cabin on the railway tracks," court says.

59 people died in the train burning incident, sparking off communal riots in Gujarat.

The court held that as soon as the train stopped near 'A'Cabin after chain pulling, Kurkur and Panwala brought a carboy containing petrol on a moped.

It was Kurkur and Panwala who poured petrol inside S-6 from window near the door of the coach, judgement says.

Hasan and Jabir climbed up the corridor place and by use of force with kicks, opened the eastern side sliding door of Coach S-6. They along with Saukat Charkha then entered into Coach S-6 from the sliding door with Carboys containing petrol after which Saukat opened the East-South corner door of the Coach from where the remaining three (Imran Sheru, Irfan Bhobha, Rafiq Bhatuk) entered the coach with carboys and poured petrol.

After the coach caught fire all the accused persons who were in it got down from the opposite side.

"If the petrol was not kept ready in loose form in carboys on previous night near Aman Guest House, it would not have been possible to reach with carboys containing petrol in huge quantity immediately," court says, accepting prosecution theory of conspiracy.

"(That)The quarrel or misbehaviour with Muslim girls by karsevaks were the causes for spontaneous reaction can never be accepted because as per the evidence on record, such quarrel had also taken place earlier at Rudroli Station and Dahod Station. However, it did not result into such serious reaction," the court observes.

The judgement also notes that the town of Godhra is known for its history of communal riots.

PTI