Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine
Dhu'l-Qa'dah / Zil-Hijjah 1423 H
February 2003
Volume 16-02 No : 194
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Ideology


The Burning Train

The Burning Train

By Malikul Azeez

Atal Behari Vajpayee has rendered a great deal of disservice to the cause of secularism and Hindu-Muslim unity in his address to the BJP parliamentary party on December 17, 2002. If only he takes the pains of searching out the papers of 28th February, 2002 this year, at least now he can get corrected that many prominent Muslim leaders including those of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, which is the premier federal organisation of Muslims, have denounced the Godhra incident in unequivocal terms assuming that it might have been committed by some disgruntled elements of the Muslim community.

First of all, a major question arises. Whether in case, Godhra had not taken place and or/ if “enough” condemnation had come from the Muslim community to the satisfaction of Vajpayee, would there have not been Gujarat? One would like to ask how much condemnation, it requires to escape the backlash of the majority community for a crime which was not committed by the people who were so mercilessly targeted. Many human rights activists including Kuldip Nayar and groups of distinguished personalities have opined that going by the scale of carnage and the precision with which it was planned and executed, it is clearly established that even if Godhra had not occurred, Gujarat would have been there. The backlash was not instant and natural, but according to them, the violence was perpetrated after a thorough and well-thought preparation and executed with precision. Vajpayee’s remark is in continuation of the attempts by different saffron leaders to justify the Gujarat pogrom by attributing it to the failure of the minority community to speak up vehemently against the Godhra incident. He has conveniently forgotten the 1000-year history of Hindus and Muslims living in this country with utmost harmony.

Though a linkage is being projected between Godhra and communal carnage, the harsh reality is that long before Godhra, the Sangh Parivar outfits have been running for several years a sustained and highly provocative campaign of hatred against the minorities turning the State into a communal tinderbox. The biggest question emanates from the reality. Was the Godhra incident committed by the members of the Muslim community? The whole world was made to believe that Godhra was a great act of terrorism by some Muslims, which was not opposed by the Muslim community at large and hence the Gujarat carnage was justified and the recent Assembly elections were won on Godhra. But the facts look the other way. So far no culprits have been arrested with any irrefutable proof of their involvement.

The FSL report, prepared by its Asst. director, M.S. Dahiya, which was finalised after re-enacting the burning drama at the same spot, has come to the conclusion that about 60 litres of inflammable material were used for burning the coach, but it could not have been poured from the outside as widely believed. If the material had been thrown in from outside through the windows, from the ground, much of it would have fallen on the track, but there was no such evidence. Moreover, there was also no effect of the fire below the windows and the damage was severe inside the compartment and none outside. After carrying out repeated experiments from all angles, the FSL came to the conclusion that “standing in the aisle of the coach near seat number 72 and using a container with wide mouth, about 60 litres of inflammable liquid has been poured and then immediately fire has been started in the bogey”.

Now, when Modi has achieved what he wanted-winning the elections at any cost, he must be considering himself a hero, but surely enough has been recorded about him in the history as the villain of the worst-ever carnage of independent India.

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