59 persons were killed in the incident at Godhra railway station on February 27
The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) on Wednesday arrested Farooq Bhana, the alleged mastermind behind setting fire to Sabarmati Express train in which 59 persons were killed at Godhra railway station on February 27, 2002. A day later, the incident led to widespread riots in various parts of the state.
Superintendent of Police (ATS) Himanshu Shukla said that Bhana, an ex corporator of Godhra municipality, was arrested from Kalol in Panchmahal district where “a clandestine meeting with his family members was to be held.” Officials said that Bhana is allegedly the main conspirator who had held a meeting at Aman guest house in Phoolan bazar, adjacent to Godhra railway station.
“Bhana had told in the meeting that the Sabarmati Express will be late and instead of 2 AM it would reach at 7 AM. He part of the conspiracy behind burning the train for which 140 liters of petrol was procured following the meeting at the guest house,” ATS officials said. They said that Bhana will be handed over to Supreme Court appointed-Special Investigation Team (SIT) which investigated the case.
On February 27, 2002 coach number S-6 of Sabarmati Express train were torched by a mob at Godhra railway station in which 59 people, mostly karsevaks, were killed. A day later, this incident triggered widespread communal riots in the state.
In 2011, 31 persons were convicted by a special court and 63 were acquitted in this case. While 11 were sentenced to death, remaining 20 were given life imprisonment. Bhana remained absconding. The convicts have challenged the trial court’s order in the Gujarat High Court where hearings were concluded last year and judgment is awaited.