An official forensic report on the
deadly arson attack on a train allegedly by Muslims in Godhra town
of western Indian state of Gujarat on February 27 has devastated
government position on the issue and demonstrated conclusively
that the event used to unleash the Gujarat pogroms was engineered
by the extremist Hindus themselves.
Fifty nine Hindus returning from the temple town of Ayodhya were
charred and the incidents sparked off one of the worst holocaust
in the recent memory of independent India, which resulted in the
killings of thousands of Muslims and rendering hundreds of
thousands homeless. A new twist has been given to the incident and
the mystery has only deepened.
Ahmedabad-based Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) after conducting
intensive tests concluded that it is impossible that inflammable
liquid could have been poured from outside into the train
compartment. The FSL report proved that about 60 litres of such
liquid was poured from inside the compartment before it was set on
fire. This important conclusive finding immediately sets at rest
the allegation that a Muslim mob poured inflammables from outside
into the compartment and set the rail compartment ablaze.
FSL experts conducted an on-the-spot inspection and recreated the
entire sequence of events of that fateful day. Dr MS Dahiya,
Assistant Director of FSL, submitted his findings recently which
stated, “Considering the time factor (hardly 45 minutes after the
train left Godhra station), intensity of fire and the damage it
caused to material objects, around 60 litres of highly inflammable
liquid was used to burn compartment S-6.”
Dr Dahiya along with scientific officer MN Joshi, re-enacted the
incident with a railway coach at the same spot where the crime
took place. After several experiments they concluded that no
inflammable liquid was thrown from outside into the compartment.
Providing details the report established that the height of the
compartment windows from ground level at the scene of the crime
was found to be of seven feet, which made throwing of inflammable
liquid using a bucket or jerrycan next to impossible. To
substantiate their findings the experts repeated the experiment
from a three-feet elevation, some 14 feet away from where the
compartment was burnt. Hardly 10-15 per cent of the water used
during experiment could get inside the coach, while the rest spilt
over to the tracks. The experts later poured nearly 60 litres of
water inside the coach and found none of it spilling over from the
open door or reaching the toilets.
“Under such circumstances, compartment S-6 should have caught fire
from outside, the fire engulfing it from below, with the
inflammable liquid pooled around the tracks. But the inspection of
the tracks and burning pattern on the exterior of the compartment
S-6 -- which had no burn marks below the window level -- confirm
that the inflammable liquid did not come from outside,” the report
Contradicting earlier claims of the compartment being locked
before the arson attack the report said that three doors were in
fact open at the time of the incident. The burning pattern inside
the coach, its spread, intensity and effect on the floor,
described as “alligatoring” pattern, indicated that the fire
spread rapidly, burning 80 per cent of the compartment. Also,
there was no evidence of acid-like, quick burning liquid being
used, as claimed by BJP functionaries.
After the new forensic evidence was made public, state Congress
Party leaders alleged that the incident “could have been motivated
by the ruling BJP and the VHP to raise communal passions.”
“These people (BJP-VHP) are capable of burning innocent Hindus and
getting votes in the name of religion. This is not a new thing and
the coming days could prove that the BJP and VHP masterminded the
Godhra massacre,” said Shankarsinh Vaghela, senior Congress leader
and former Chief Minister.
The state government in its reaction Thursday July 4 said that the
new evidence makes no difference to their case that the
compartment was burnt down by a local mob. “The people who wanted
to burn from outside also wanted to burn the coach from inside.
Whether they tried to do it from outside or inside, what
difference does it make?” said Purshottam Rupala, state
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had blamed the Godhra incident
for sparking the riots. During his recent visit to Gujarat, Union
Home Minister LK Advani (before being elevated as Deputy Prime
Minister) said the Godhra incident was not a pre-planned terrorist
act, only a pre-planned move to create disturbance.
Even the state Chief Minister Narendra Modi went on record to say
that the anti-Muslim pogrom in the state was a reaction to Godhra
incident in which Muslims were alleged to have torched the Hindus.
Interestingly, BJP leaders have been frequently changing their
version on the arson attack being a terrorist act.
In the light of the above findings, the forensic report has
arguably trashed the theory that Pakistan’s ISI was behind the
incident. The report, undoubtedly, has provided the opposition
parties with an opportunity to put the blame on both the Central
and State governments for their acts of omission and commission.