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    From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 9, Issue 10, Dated 10 Mar 2012
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    COVER STORY

    10 Facts About Godhra

    1 NINE BJP men claimed to be eyewitnesses and named 41 Muslims responsible for the carnage. In 2007, TEHELKA caught two of them admitting on camera that they were actually at home at the time of the incident and gave fabricated statements to “serve the cause of Hindutva”.

    2 TEA VENDOR Ajay Baria was made part of the plot to support the prosecution’s case. In 2007, his mother told TEHELKA he was coerced into becoming a police witness.

    3 PETROL PUMP attendants Ranjitsinh and Prabhatsinh Patel, who claimed that they had sold 140 litres of fuel to a few Muslim accused on 26 February 2002, had first told the police they hadn’t sold any loose petrol, but changed their tune six months later. TEHELKA caught Ranjitsinh admitting on camera that they had been paid Rs 1 lakh each by police officer Noel Parmar for naming the accused.

    4 PETTY CRIMINAL Sikandar Siddique, who was a star prosecution witness, had claimed that two Muslim religious leaders, Maulvi Umarji and Maulvi Punjabi, were behind the incident. But it later emerged that Punjabi was not even in the country that day.

    5 ON 11 JULY 2002, while re-examining the S6 coach of the Sabarmati Express, the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) concluded that the vestibule door had been forcibly opened and had got jammed. But when Judge PR Patel carried out an inspection on 30 May 2010, he found the door was not jammed. This shows that either there was some post-facto tampering of evidence or the forensic report was doctored.

    6 SEVERAL EYEWITNESSES told the court that there was a fight between kar sevaks and Muslim tea vendors on the platform. The eruption of a spontaneous fight indicates that the episode was the result of a spontaneous communal conflagration.

    7 SOME KAR SEVAKS had allegedly tried to abduct a Muslim girl and another burqa-clad woman. The attempts, which had further infuriated the Muslim mob, lends more weight to the theory of a spontaneous riot.

    8 THERE WAS nothing to show that on or before 26 February 2002, there was any friction between kar sevaks and Godhra Muslims grave enough to provoke a planned carnage.

    9 ON 3 MARCH 2002, the state government invoked POTA and the Godhra case morphed into an act of terrorism. But since mob fury could not pass muster as terrorism, on 9 March, the police invoked Section 120(b) of the IPC, which pertains to criminal conspiracy.

    10 OF THE EIGHT influential Muslim political figures arraigned by the police, the trial court convicted just two while as many as 63 were acquitted last February.

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    From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 9, Issue 10, Dated10 Mar 2012
 

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