Monday, March 15, 2010 The Godhra incident, what actually happened?
After the recent summons from SIT for Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, it may interest some to refresh their memory of what happened at Godhra. The following is a friend's research, of the history of the Godhra incident.
On Feb 27
The Godhra massacre occurred on February 27 at 8 AM. At 8:30 AM –Chief Minister Narendra Modi- then in Ahmedabad- was informed about the carnage. Modi then went to visit Godhra. Modi visited the railway platform-and here gave ‘shoot-at-sight’ orders.
The Hindu in its issue dated 28 February 2002 reported that-
“The Chief Minister Narendra Modi gave shoot-at-sight orders in Godhra”.
The same day (Feb 28)- The Times of India reported in a report titled
“Shoot-at-sight orders, curfew in Godhra” -
“The Gujarat government imposed an indefinite curfew and issued shoot-at-sight orders in Godhra after 57 people were killed and several injured when a mob set the Sabarmati express on fire." The Tribune also reported this.
All English dailies the next reported this- and websites like rediff.com also reported this- and so did many foreign newspapers.
The Daily Breeze- a US newspaper- reported on 28 February-
“Fearing the attack would ignite sectarian riots, Indian officials immediately stepped up security across this vast, religiously divided nation. The prime minister urged Hindus not to retaliate.”
The same day- the website rediff.com also reported that the state government had taken all precautions and tightened security to prevent riots.
After this- Narendra Modi returned to Ahmedabad in the evening. On his return to Ahmedabad- 827 people were arrested as a preventive measure. Narendra Modi said this in an interview to India Today weekly dated 18 March 2002- and this is on official records. India Today dated 18 March 2002 also says that preventive arrests were made on Feb 27- without giving the number.
The same day-on February 27- the Gujarat government deployed the entire police force of 70,000 in Gujarat- as per the report of The Hindustan Times dated 28 February 2002- in view of the apprehension that riots may break out in retaliation of burning down of Hindu pilgrims at Godhra.
The Telegraph of UK in its issue of 28th February also reported that more than 70,000 security men had been deployed in Gujarat on 27 February. These foreign dailies also reported that security had not only been tightened in Gujarat- but also in all places with sizable Muslim population in India- on 27 February.
The same day-on February 27- the Gujarat government deployed the Rapid Action Force in Ahmedabad and other sensitive areas and the Centre sent in the CRPF personnel.
This was reported by The Indian Express in its report dated 28 February 2002. The English daily Mid-Day also reported both these things in its issue of 28 Feb.
The Hindu- also reported on Feb 28 that-
“(On Feb 27) The state government has appealed to the people to maintain peace… The Home Minister said the Government was taking necessary steps to ensure that the disturbances did not spread during the bandh tomorrow (i.e. Feb 28).” This was reported by many newspapers on 28 February.
As per information put up on the site www.indianembassy.org -the state also requested for additional forces from Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. Two companies of Maharashtra Reserve Police Force arrived and were deployed in Surat.
On Feb 28
India Today's report dated 18 March 2002 gives following information:
1- Entire police force of Ahmedabad was deployed on Feb 28–total 6000- out of which only 1500 were armed. The size of the mobs was unprecedented on Feb 28 and the police forces were woefully short.
2- Even though Rapid Action Force was deployed- it too could not prevent the violence.
3- Ahmedabad police received 3500 calls on Feb 28- against an average of 200.
4- Ahmedabad Fire Brigade- which has the capacity to handle 100 calls received 400 calls on that day.
5- The statement of the then Ahmedabad Police Commissioner P.C. Pande also shows that the situation was out of control.
The leading most English daily from South India- The Hindu reported on 1st March 2002- covering events of 28 February –
“The Army units, frantically called by the Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, as the situation seemed to slip out of hand, started arriving in Ahmedabad and are likely to be deployed in the city on Friday.(i.e. 1st March 2002)”
India Today (11 March 2002- covering events till Feb 28)reported on February 28 itself that the Army had been called into Gujarat and that the Chief Minister was caught in a difficult situation.
The police fired 1,000 rounds on Feb 28. A total of 10 Hindus were shot dead in police firing in Ahmedabad alone- and 26 were injured. These are official government figures- and also can be seen from the report of The Hindu- dated 1 March 2002-
“At least 30 others were killed in police firing, stabbing and other incidents in different parts of the city while the casualty in other cities and towns in the State was put at over 50…
Till evening, police fired 46 rounds in Ahmedabad, in which at least 10 persons were believed to have been killed.”
The Indian Express and The Hindu both reported on 1st March 2002 itself that Army units started arriving in Ahmedabad on the night of Feb 28. They reached so quickly that these dailies had time to report their arrival and publish it the next day. Indian Express also reported George Fernandes' arrival at 1:00 am in the morning of 1st March- in its issue of 1st March itself.
The Indian Express in its online edition of Feb 28 reported at 4:29 PM that 1,000 paramilitary forces are being desptached to Gujarat- on Narendra Modi's request.
CURFEW WAS PLACED IN 26 TOWNS AND CITIES ON FEB 28 ITSELF- as per the reports of all newspapers the next day. The Hindu reported on 1st march 2002-
"An indefinite curfew has been clamped in 26 cities and towns in the State, including parts of Ahmedabad, Surat, Baroda, Rajkot, Nadiad, Anand and Kaira in addition to the indefinite curfew in force in Godhra since Wednesday.”
On 1st March
On the next day- i.e. 1st March 2002- the Army staged a flag march in Ahmedabad at 11:30 AM. The Hindu reported on 2nd March 2002-
“The Army began flag marches in the worst-affected areas of Ahmedabad, Baroda, Rajkot and Godhra cities and the `shoot at sight’ order was extended to all 34 curfew-bound cities and towns in Gujarat”. The title of the report itself was- “Shoot orders in many Gujarat towns, toll over 200”.
The Indian Express reported on 2nd March-
“The police, its credibility lowest than ever, tried to salvage its reputation intervening in some clashes by opening fire. Twenty were killed in police firing across the state, 12 in Ahmedabad. (On 1st March 2002)”
On 1st March 2002- the Police saved 2,500 Muslims from certain death when they were attacked by 8,000 armed tribals in Sanjeli, a town in North Gujarat. This was reported by weekly India Today in its issue dated 22 April 2002.
On March 2
On the third day of the riots- i.e. 2nd March 2002- the police shotdead 47 people in Gujarat- including 19 in Ahmedabad- as per the report of The Hindu dated 3rd March 2002. The Hindu reported-
“Even while claiming that the situation was improving, Mr. Modi said the police fired at least 1,031 rounds in different parts of the State since last night besides bursting 1,614 teargas shells to disperse violent mobs. While 19 people were killed in police firing in Ahmedabad and eight in Godhra, six people were killed in police firing in Baroda, five in Anand, three each in Mehsana and Gandhinagar, two in Kaira and one in Bhavnagar.”
The same day- The Indian Express reported- “(One 2nd March)The toll went up to over 450 as police recovered more bodies and 77 more people were killed either in police or Army firing”.
India Today dated 22 April 2002 says-
"In the carnage that ensued after the February 27 Godhra killings, 8,000 armed tribals descended on the town of 8,000 in the tribal heartland of Dahod district (i.e. Sanjeli). Bows, stones and gunshots rained on the fleeing Muslims, killing 15. Police intervention meant another 2,500 were spared a savage death … In an identical display of insanity, around 7,000 armed tribals marched into Bodeli town in Chotte-Udepur tribal area of Vadodara district intent on massacring the Muslims who had taken shelter there after being driven out of the neighbouring villages. While hundreds were saved by the police, Vadodara District Collector Bhagyesh Jha and other senior officers were fired upon by tribals as they tried to rescue the trapped Muslims.
Tragedy was also averted by the police and army at Viramgam town near Ahmedabad where over 15,000 Hindus, mostly armed OBC Thakores, burnt 250 Muslim houses…”
The website www.indianembassy.org seems to be an official site of the Indian Embassy in USA. It says-
“In Mora village of Panchmahal district, SDM, Mamlatdar and police rushed to the spot where the crowd was gathered, dispersed the crowd and saved the lives of 400 people by shifting them to a safe place.
On receipt of information on 3rd March 2002 a madarsa in
Asoj, in Vagodia,Vadodara district was likely to be attacked, nearly 40 persons including 22 children were evacuated to a safe place.
On the night of 2/3 March 2002, in Dahod, the police escorted over 2000 persons belonging to minority community to a safe place, rescuing them from the mob that had gathered from surrounding 28 villages.
In Surat city, protection was provided to about 60 persons and mosque in Nana Varacha area.
On receipt of information that some women and children were trapped in a mosque, Surat police escorted them to a safe place.
On receipt of information that 100 persons were trapped near Rita society opposite Yateem Khana Jain Mandir, the police immediately rushed there and dispersed the mob, but found no persons trapped inside. Surat police immediately provided protection requested for by 12-15 houses of Muslims near Khoja Masjid.”
Police records and figures given by the Union Home Ministry as well as figures given by weekly India Today in its issue dated 18 March 2002 reveal that as many as 98 people were killed in the first three days in police firing.
As per official government figures given to B P Singhal-whp wrote in an article in Organsier dated 9 October 2005-
"The truth is that the total number of riot-related accused that came to light in entire Gujarat was 25,486 (17,489 Hindus and 7,997 Muslims). The efficiency of the Police can be gauged from the fact that out of the above mentioned number, as many as 25,204 accused were arrested- out of which 17,348 were Hindus and 7,856 were Muslims. The police in Gujarat was therefore not sleeping at any time.
The maximum number of relief camps opened up during riots was 159. At a given point of time the figure varied as certain camps were closed down and certain new camps were opened up. As on 5.3.2002, out of the 98 refugee/relief camps opened, 85 were for Muslims while 13 were for Hindus… On the other hand, there was a contrast of night and day in the versions of riots as projected by the national English media as against the sharply contrasting versions appearing in the local Gujarati papers of all hues…”
Until 18 April 2002-more Hindus were killed in police firing than Muslims. As per the Telegraph dated 21 April 2002- as on 6 April 2002- 77 Hindus were killed in police firing out od total 126 killed in police firing by then. The final figures are 77 Hindus and 93 Muslims- because after 3rd March 2002- riots were almost all started by Muslims.
Please gather some courage and read this and mull this. And try to rebut.