In an 800-page verdict on the 2002 attack on the Sabarmati Express in Godhra,special judge explains what led to the observation that the incident was the result of a conspiracy and not an accident:
In 2002,a Ram Yagna was organised by Hindu organisations like VHP,RSS,Bajrang Dal at Ayodhya. On February 27,the Sabarmati Express (from Ayodhya),running late,came to platform No 1 at Godhra Railway Station,at 7.40 am.
A quarrel broke out on the platform between kar sevaks and hawkers. Some kar sevaks also misbehaved with Muslim girls on the platform,including Sofiya (who also deposed before the Shah-Nanavati Commission that probed the incident)
At 7.45 am,the train moved. But someone pulled the alarm chain. A mob of Muslims outside began pelting stones from behind the Parcel Office at Signal Faliya. Some kar sevaks threw (metal objects) at the mob.
The train moved again,but the was stopped once more near the ACabin,a lonely area.
A Muslim mob of more than 900 attacked the train with sticks,rods,dhariyas,guptis… they pelted stones,acid bulbs,bottles and burning rags on the coaches. The mob was also instigated by announcements over the loud speaker from the nearby Ali Masjid mosque.
As the assailants could not succeed in setting on fire the (S-6) coach by throwing burning rags etc,some assailants found another way cutting the canvas vestibule of Coach S-7,(they) succeeded in opening the sliding door on eastern side of Coach S-6 forcibly. After entering that coach,the East-South corner door of Coach S-6 was opened,(through) which some others entered with carboys containing petrol. They poured sufficient enough petrol in the coach. Then with a burning rag,the entire S-6 was set on fire.
Haji Bilal,Saukat Faruq Abdulsattar Pataliya alias Bhano,Abdul Razak Kurkur and Salim Panwala hatched the conspiracy at a meeting the previous day at the nearby Aman Guest House.
Kurkur and Panwala went on a moped to the Kalabhai Petrol Pump at about 10 pm. Others,including Salim Zarda,Shaukat Ahmed Charkha,Imran Ahmed Bhatuk alias Sheru,Hasan Ahmed Charkha alias Lalu,Mehbub Khalid Chanda and Jabir Binyamin Behra followed in a three-wheel tempo. They purchased 140 litres of loose petrol that they filled in 7 carboys,took and stored behind Aman Guest House,in Kurkurs house. They met again at the guesthouse.
When the Sabarmati Express arrived and a quarrel broke out on the platform,and kar sevaks were misbehaving with Muslim girls,Panwala and Mehbub Ahmed alias Latiko raised an alarm,shouting that Muslims be summoned from Signal Faliya. They misled the gathering mob saying that kar sevaks were abducting and taking Muslim girls into the train. They shouted, pull the chain and stop the train.
Some in the mob halted the train,by turning the ACP disk outside the coaches. The train stopped near the A cabin.
Who did what
Kurkur and Panwala (still absconding) took with them a carboy containing petrol and rode a Red M-80 Bajaj moped towards A cabin.
Saukat Charkha,Lalu,Latiko,Sheru,Jabir Behra,Irfan Abdul Majid Kalandar alias Bhopo,Irfan Hanif alias Hani Panwala,Rafik Husein Bhatuk and Ramjani Binyamin Behra rushed behind Aman Guest House,picked up the other carboys containing petrol,put them on a tempo and rushed towards A cabin through the rough road of Ali Masjid.
Mehbub Yakub Mitha alias Popa,Mehbub Khalid Chanda,Ayub Abdulgani Pataliya,Yunus Abdullah Ghadiyali etc. went near Coach S-2 with weapons and started breaking window glasses. They threw a burning rag inside S-2. Kurkur and Panwala went near S-6 and poured petrol through a broken window near the closed door of the coach.
Latiko,who carried a meat cleaver,made holes on the upper part of the carboys and cut open the canvas vestibule of Coach S-7,the corridor between S-6 and S-7.
Latiko and Jabir Behra climbed up the corridor and kicked opened the sliding door on the S-6 coachs eastern side. Latiko,Behra and Shaukat Charkha (absconding) entered S-6 through the sliding door with carboys containing petrol.
Charkha opened the East-South corner door of S-6,through which Sheru,Bhopo and Rafiq Bhatuk entered the coach with carboys and poured the petrol. Ramjani Behra and Lalu were meanwhile throwing petrol from the outside,towards the coach windows. Lalu lit a rag and set the coach on fire.
All of them then got off the coach,on the other side.
Some passengers tried to escape. Jabir Behra,Siddiq Mohammed Moriya,Bhano and Saukat Yusuf Mohan alias Bibino caught hold of one of them,Govindsinh Panda,and hit and grievously injured him on the head with an iron rod. Pravinbhai Amthabhai Patel was thrashed with iron rods and pipes,before (being looted).
* If there was no planned conspiracy,it would have not been possible to gather Muslim persons with deadly weapons within five to six minutes and to reach near A cabin.
* If the petrol was not kept ready in loose form in carboys the previous night,it would not have been possible to reach (coach S-6) with (the petrol) within five to 10 minutes.
* The target was not all the passengers of this train or any other train or other Hindus but,definitely,the kar sevaks who were travelling in this train were the only targets.
* Shouting of slogans by the assailants and the announcement over loudspeaker from the nearby mosque also clearly suggest the motive and (previous planning).
* It can definitely be said that the incident was not a simple reaction of a small quarrel took place on the platform,but it was a pre-planned attack… part of a conspiracy hatched the previous day.
* The acts of murder committed are so gruesome,merciless and brutal that the aggravating circumstances far outweigh the mitigating circumstances.