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Unanswered question
If the train fire was pre-planned, why only one bogey was torched?

Godhra: If the Godhra train fire incident was a pre-planned conspiracy, as alleged by some, why only one bogey of the Sabarmati Express was set on fire? Further, if this was an attack on karsewaks, there were many more of them in several other adjoining compartments. Why those were not torched?

A senior officer of Godhra railway station said, on condition of anonymity, that for about a week before this train tragedy the karsevaks travelling to and from Ayodhya by Sabarmati Express were indulging in rowdyism and misbehaviour with vendors at Godhra station. Even the RPF and GRP men, fearing untoward incidents involving the karsewaks and vendors ordered these vendors to temporarily suspend their business at the time of the arrival of Sabarmati Express. But on the fateful day this train, which normally arrives around midnight at Godhra, was very late and arrived around 07.30 am. All the vending shops were open at that time because many other trains also arrive during those hours and hence this incident.

Many of these vendors belong to ‘Ghanchi’ tribe who live in nearby settlements. When there was a war of words between these vendors and karsewaks, they went back to their settlements and, spreading the rumour that they had been attacked by karsewaks excited their youth to reach the outer signal to take revenge against these sewaks. Meanwhile, some mischievous elements raised provocative and religious slogans from a mosque in the railway compound and incited Ghanchi youths to take revenge against these karsewaks. The Ghanchis, who are totally illiterate and indulge in crime, first attacked a nearby petrol pump, filled their utensils with petrol and diesel, reached the outer signal where the train was stopped. Here they set fire to coach No S 6.

According to these sources, when there were skirmishes between the Ramsewaks and Ghanchi vendors at the station, these vendors before retreating to their settlements had threatened the karsewaks to settle the score later. Fearing any violent reaction from these vendors, the Ramsewaks took precautions and closed all the doors and windows of their compartments. The result was that most of them were safe while innocents, mostly women and children, became victims of the fire. No preplanning was involved in this incident. Local Congress MLA Rajender Patel says that this incident would never have taken place had the karsewaks not misbehaved with the vendors. Kalota, the main accused in this case enjoys BJP patronage since 1994, Patel alleged.

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