The February 2002 Sabarmati train fire, which killed 59 kar sevaks and triggered large-scale riots, was part of a “conspiracy” hatched by Congress’s elected members from Godhra, according to a reference book on political history of Gujarat published by a state board.
The opposition Congress, however, termed it as the BJP government’s attempt to saffronise the University Granth Nirman Board (UGNB), which has published the Gujarati book, and said it would seek a legal opinion against the writers for “twisting” the court verdict in the Godhra train burning case.
The book, titled “Gujarat Ni Rajkiya Gatha” (Political Saga of Gujarat), published in December 2018, is edited by Bhavnaben Dave, a former BJP MP and current vice-chairperson of the board.
When asked, Dave told this paper, “Nothing mentioned in the book is without facts. Every mention is supported by facts. We have prepared it keeping all the facts in mind. Since all do not know about the history of Gujarat, it was the responsibility of University Granth Nirman Board to prepare books on the state’s history”.
Dave, who’s co-author of the book, said, “The orders passed by the courts are for all to see, and I have nothing to say about this. The Congress can raise objection if it feels so. If Congress finds its failures (mentioned in the book) and feels sad about it, then it is the party’s problem. The book offers details of works done by all the chief ministers of the state and the socio-political condition of the state during their time. The book is full of factual details. But if despite this, anyone compares the achievements of his government with the other governments and finds issues, then it is his problem and not of the book.”
The Godhra train burning incident of February 27, 2002, had triggered the worst communal riots in the history of Gujarat, in which over 1,000 people, mostly belonging to the minority community, were killed. “To destabilise a stable government, a conspiracy was hatched on February 27, 2002. A coach of Sabarmati (Express) train carrying kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya was set on fire. Fifty-nine kar sevaks were charred to death. This conspiracy was hatched by elected members of the Congress from Godhra,” reads a paragraph in the book.
(With inputs from PTI)