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 were killed. [76] R. K. Raghavan, who was the head of the Special Investigating Team, said he was satisfied with the verdict. In May 2003, the first charge sheet was filed against 54 accused, but they were not charged under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA became an Act as it was cleared by Parliament). He cited a forensic report stating that the injuries on the victims were only compatible with an "internal fire." [30] The commission, during its six-year probe, examined more than 40,000 documents and the testimonies of more than 1,000 witnesses. West Bengal's Chief Secretary, Sourin Roy, said the detainee was a commander of the Muslim radical group Harkat-ul Jehad-e-Islami, who was allegedly attempting to enter Bangladesh. Godhra train burning case: Convict Yakub Pataliya gets life imprisonment Pataliya was arrested by the Godhra Police in January 2018, nearly 16 years after being booked in connection with the incident in which 59 'karsevaks' were burnt alive in two coaches of the Sabarmati Express. [21], The train was attacked by a mob of around 2,000 people. On the performance of the police, it said, “… a number of affidvaits have been filed stating that the police had taken prompt and effective steps to curb violence in the district. In September 2004, two and half years after the train burning, Yadav appointed former Supreme Court Justice Umesh Chandra Banerjee to investigate the incident. In November 2003, the Supreme Court of India put a stay on the trial. Following the Godhra train burning incident, large-scale violence across Gujarat for several days was reported. It cited instances to prove that in fact the Hindus were either assaulted for helping Muslims or they alerted the Muslims about possible attacks. There is material to show that the police had saved lives and properties of many persons by taking effective steps and also helped them in moving to safer places. [10][11] The Sardarpura and Dipda Darwaja cases were among the nine cases investigated by the Supreme Court appointed SIT and tried in special courts appointed under its direct supervision. [8] A commission appointed by the central government, whose appointment was later held to be unconstitutional, stated that the fire had been an accident. About Mehsana, the home district of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was then chief minister of Gujarat, the Commission observed, “The district was affected more by the Godhra incident…” Three from this district were burnt alive at the Godhra railway station and the police expected disturbance when the dead bodies of the train carnage victims arrived, it said. [9] A court convicted a group of 31 Muslim individuals for the incident and the conspiracy for the crime. [73] The court asked the state government and railways to pay 10 lakh compensation to the families of each of the 59 victims. [22] Martha Nussbaum has challenged this narrative, stating that several inquiries have found that the conflagration was an accident rather than a planned conspiracy. The commission termed the Godhra train burning "an accident" in its report, submitted in 2006. [64] In 2009, after accepting the report of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by it, the court appointed a special fast-track court to try the case along with 5 other fast track courts established to try the post-incident riots. It was at a later stage that some allegations were made against local BJP leaders…” The Commission further observed that two BJP leaders were acquitted subsequently. A shattering piece of news: 58 Hindu pilgrims had been burned alive in a train. The bench hearing the case also said that public prosecutors should be appointed in consultation with the SIT chairman. [28] However, Shah's alleged closeness to Narendra Modi generated fierce criticism from the victims, human rights organisations, and political parties, and led to a demand for the appointment of a Supreme Court judge to the commission. Being Chief Minister of the province, he was required to handle aftermath of the gruesome event. 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