Modi gets reprieve for Godhra train burning incident
Saturday, 27 September 2008

Agencies

A government-appointed commission has given a clean chit to controversial right-wing chief minister of India's Gujarat state, Narendra Modi, in the Godhra train-burning incident, which had led to the infamous communal riots in 2002.

The first part of the Nanavati Commission report, which was tabled in the Gujarat assembly amidst high drama on Thursday, said that "there is no evidence of the role of CM and any Gujarat minister in this case."
 
"No evidence of them having not been able to provide protection, relief or rehabilitation to any riot victim has been found," according to the report.
 
"The report has clearly gone into details, analysed all the evidence and has come to the conclusion that there was no failure of machinery as far as maintenance of law and order is concerned," says Jai Narayan Vyas, the spokesperson for Gujarat government.
 
The report comes in stark contrast to the report of a previous committee formed by the central government in New Delhi.
 
The Justice U.C. Banerjee Commission had blamed Modi and his right-wing Hindu government and said the burning of the train in Godhra was accidental, not deliberate. The commission had dismissed the theory that blaze was caused by outsiders and deaths caused by toxicity and suffocation.
 
Thursday's commission report clearly says that burning S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express on Feb. 27, 2002, was a pre-planned conspiracy and not an accident. It was planned by a local group with the intention of spreading terror, the report adds.
 
The report also said that 140 liters of petrol was purchased as the part of conspiracy to burn the bogey.
 
Fifty-nine people, including 25 women and 15 children, were burnt alive when a violent mob set ablaze two coaches of the Sabarmati Express at the Godhra railway station on February 27, 2002. Many of them were said to be Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists returning after a campaign in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.
 
The gruesome incident led to sectarian violence that raged for weeks in which 1,169 people, a majority of them Muslims, were killed and the ripples of which are still being felt.

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