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Modi stoking communal fire
By AH Lakhani
Ahmedabad: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is stoking communal fire in the state to keep the communal tension alive till the coming state Assembly elections as the demolition of Madni Mosque in Ahmedabad and two quick transfers of Godhra's top officers-superintendent of police Raju Bhargava and the collector, Jayanti S. Ravi, after Godhra forensic report indicate. It seems that something is still brewing in Gujarat as two victims of communal riots in Gujarat, staying in a relief camp, were battered to death by miscreants when they returned to their house in a Vadodra village.
The investigation into the Godhra train fire has revealed that at least 60 litres of petrol was used to torch passenger car S-6 of the Sabarmati Express and since it was completely charred from the inside, it was clear that the intensity of the fire was more inside than outside.
The police is now investigating whether so much petrol was already there inside the bogey in separate cans or did the attackers who boarded the train at Godhra railway station take petrol with them.
Additional DGP (crime) AK Bhargava says the police is trying to ascertain whether the petrol sample from the bogey matches petrol samples from nearby pumps and garages. Investigating officials are yet to find out the exact nature. Sources of the petrol used in the incident through an initial investigation did prove that it was not stolen or procured from the closest petrol pump or garages in advance.
Forensic science laboratory officials are yet to submit their final report but their preliminary report stresses that the intensity of the fire was maximum inside. They, however, refuse to imply that the bogey was set ablaze from inside, "That is the police's job.. to find out," FSL sources said.
Mr. Bhargava said officials feel at this stage that, as per the reconstruction of the crime scene, 60 litres of petrol could be carried and poured into the bogey by at least three persons using 20-litres cans.
Forensic science laboratory officials are yet to submit their final report but their preliminary report stresses that the intensity of the fire was maximum inside. They, however, refuse to imply that the bogey was set ablaze from inside, "That is the police's job.. to find out," FSL sources said
He, however, added that this was still under investigation. Surprisingly, the police still does not have a single eyewitness mentioned in the chargesheet who has testified that the petrol was poured in the compartment from the aisle adjoining berth number 72 in bogey number S-6.
But the transfer of both the superintendent of police Raju Bhargava and collector Jayanti S Ravi in quick succession over the last two days has put a big question mark on the future of these strings of peace initiatives that the two district officials had taken in recent weeks to bring the two estranged communities together.
Both transfers have come in the wake of mounting pressure from the VHP and BJP cadres of Panchmahals who were upset over the large-scale arrests of party and Parishad workers on rioting charges. Jayanti Ravi and Bhargava had held about 54 rounds of meetings in
Godhra, and 52 in Lunawala to dispel the feelings of mistrust which both communities had.
"The Hindus were insisting that their names be dropped from the FIRs before the Muslims are allowed to return home, and the Muslims were insisting that all those they had named in the FIR be arrested before they return home. Both these officials showed a lot of firmness as well as diplomacy in solving this tricky issue," said one senior district official. There are fears in the district that the transfer of the two officials, who had worked in tandem to ensure that the February 27 incident does not lead to any large-scale flare-up in the district, may hamper the peace process. It is significant that till date not a single person has been killed in rioting in Godhra town though some deaths have taken place in police firing.