Today is the 18th anniversary of the barbaric crime that was forcefully erased from the collective memories of Indians and concealed while presenting its aftermaths to the world. On 27th February 2002, at 7:43 AM, bogie No. S-6 of the Sabarmati Express was set ablaze by Islamists.
The utter barbarity of this crime – people, including old women and children, trying to flee the burning coach were pushed back into the inferno by the 1000 strong Muslim mob – shook the nation to the core, and triggered the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Gujarat’s then Chief Minister Narendra Modi was presented as the villain of the piece by our secularists, and made into an international pariah though facts showed he did his best to control the situation and courts later acquitted him of any wrong-doing.
34 Muslim men were finally convicted by a trial court for burning the Sabarmati Express passengers. The verdict was upheld by Gujarat High Court. However, the manufactured narrative of Gujarat riots being a ‘pogrom of Muslims’ (although the ensuing riots resulted in death of 254 Hindus, along with 790 Muslim victims) continues to this day, with Muslims presented as sole victims and Narendra Modi forever branded a ‘mass murderer’ in the liberal worldview.
On the 18th anniversary of that gruesome day, we will tell you what the liberal secular Hindu-hating media has erased from public memory.
Communal history of Godhra
Godhra is one of the most communally sensitive towns in Panchmahal district of Gujarat. Communal violence in this area could be traced back to the pre-independence era when, in 1927, P.M. Shah, a leading local representative of Hindus was murdered. During the years preceding and succeeding independence, pro-Pakistani Muslim leaders Sadva Hazi and Chudighar had attacked a Parsi Solapuri Fozdar and a District Collector. 2,000 Hindu houses and a temple were set on fire in March, 1948, and Hindu shops near police chowki No. 7 were turned into ashes in 1965.
In 1980, an Islamist mob murdered five Hindus including two children of five and seven years of age by burning them alive. The town remained under curfew for one full year. In 1990, Muslim criminals murdered (cut into pieces) four Hindu teachers, including two women, in Saifia Madarsa in Vhorvada area of Godhra right in front of school children.
By 2002, after numerous and repeated attacks on Hindu families by the Muslims, Hindus had thinned out from the town and this made Godhra one of the best places for Islamists to set a train full of Hindus on fire.
Why was the Sabarmati Express targeted?
A ‘Purnahuti Yagya’ in Ayodhya was arranged by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in February-March 2002. 15th March was declared as the date when the construction of the Ram temple would begin at the undisputed site. Hundreds of devotees of Bhagwan Ram participated in this ‘Yagya’ and were returning home.
The Sabarmati Express was loaded with such devotees of Bhagwan Ram who were collectively called ‘karsevaks’ or ‘Ramsevaks’ who were on their way back home after the Yagya. One doesn’t know if all the people on the Sabarmati Express supporters of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad or just ordinary people supporting the cause of Bhagwan Ram. However, the devotion and dedication of these people towards the Ram Mandir had made them the target of Islamists who had already planned a massacre.
Godhra massacre on 27th February, 2002
The Sabarmati Express which was running late by four hours that day was stopped by a huge mob of strength ranging anywhere between 500 to 2000 shortly after leaving the Godhra railway station. The distance between this spot and the railway station was of less than a kilometre. The plan was to set the entire train on fire under cover of darknes.
A jihadi mob armed with swords, petrol and acid bombs succeeded in entering coach no S-6 by cutting the vestibule connecting it to another coach. They doused the compartment with petrol and set it aflame. There were cries, shrieks, screams, but no escape. The 2000 strong mob standing on each side of the bogie ensured none of these karsevaks could escape the long and painful death they had planned for them. Between the blazing fire inside, and armed Islamists outside, the hapless Hindu devotees of Bhagwan Ram had little choice. 59 karsevaks were charred to death. Victims included men, women, elderlies and 15 children including toddlers.
Gayatri Panchal, a survivor who was a teenager at that time recollects,
“People were carrying weapons like Gupti, Spears, Swords and such other deadly weapons in their hands and were throwing stones at the train. We all got frightened and somehow closed the windows and the doors of the compartment. People outside were shouting loudly, saying ‘Maro, Kato’ and were attacking the train. A loudspeaker from the Masjid closeby was also very loudly shouting ‘Maro, Kato, Laden na dushmano ne Maro.’ (“Cut, kill, kill the enemies of Laden”) These attackers were so fierce that they managed to break the windows and close the doors from outside before pouring petrol inside and setting the compartment on fire so that nobody could escape alive.”
Gayatri witnessed two of her sisters and parents being burnt alive right in front of her eyes. She somehow managed to jump out a window and crawled under the burning train to survive. International media has not carried stories of the likes of Gayatri Panchal, who saw flames engulfing her father, mother and sister in front of her eyes, like it publishes sob-stories of terrorists – the ‘sons of poor headmasters’.
The Godhra carnage triggered the ghastly riots which engulfed the whole state of Gujarat.
Courts have convicted 34 Muslim men for the pre-planned conspiracy to burn the Sabarmati Express. As per the judgement, the conspiracy was hatched on 26 Feburary, 2002 when 4 key conspirators – Corporators Haji Bilal, Faruk Bhana (both Congress leaders/workers), Abdul Rajak and Salim Panwala – met at Aman Guest House near the railway station and collected 140 litres of petrol from a nearby petrol pump and stored it inside the guest house, with the plan of using the petrol to burn the Sabarmati Express carrying karsevaks the next morning.
8 accused are still absconding, including Panwala who is believed to be hiding in Pakistan (even Faruk Bhana had escaped to Pakistan before returning to Bharat and falling in the police net).
But no will get the death penalty for arguably the most ghastly cold-blooded crime in the history of independent Bharat. The Gujarat High Court in 2017 commuted the death sentence awarded to 11 persons to life imprisonment.
18 years since this spine-chilling attack on defenseless sleeping Hindus, which was comprehensively proved to be a pre-planned Islamist conspiracy in courts, liberal-secular elites and media houses keep peddling assorted fake theories about Godhra being an ‘accident’ or ‘unsolved mystery’ or even an ‘inside job’ by the Sangh parivar. Liberals have totally dehumanised Hindus, especially those with any link whatsoever to BJP-RSS. The Hindu lives lost in the Godhra massacre are irrelevant for them, what matters is keeping their anti-Hindu propaganda alive at all costs.
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