April 04, 2020
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'The Controversial Railway Report Will Be Made Public'

The railway minister thinks there was a careful cover-up operation over what happened at Godhra. An internal inquiry by the RPF was kept confidential and he intends to go public with it.

'The Controversial Railway Report Will Be Made Public'
jitender Gupta
'The Controversial Railway Report Will Be Made Public'
Union railway minister Laloo Prasad Yadav believes the truth about Godhra is yet to be out. He thinks the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat and the NDA government at the Centre at the time had orchestrated a careful cover-up operation. An internal inquiry by the Railway Protection Force (RPF) was kept confidential and the new railway minister intends to go public with it. Excerpts from an interview with Rajesh Sinha:

Ever since you have taken over, you’ve been saying that you’ll have Godhra investigated again. What makes you think this is necessary?
As railway minister I need to obtain information about the incident, to know what exactly happened. So I have started looking. I’m examining the questions raised in Parliament, the replies given by the then government. It’s still not known how the fire started in the coach. I have to know the truth. I have to tell the country what it is.

You must have studied the confidential railway report. What does it say?
It will be made public in due course of time. There are many aspects of the incident which are curious. One police version is that a mob attacked the train. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. And who pulled the chain and stopped the Sabarmati Express? Chain andar se hi to kheechenge na (you’ll pull the chain from inside only).... I am looking into all these aspects. The chain was pulled twice. The inquiries conducted then have left many vital unanswered questions.

What aspects do you think raise doubts or look suspicious?
The state police that was under Modi said the mob set the coach on fire. If it was an angry mob, they would set the whole train on fire, not pick just one coach. And the forensic report contradicted this: it said the fire started from inside the coach. Other reports also differed from Gujarat police. There are different stories.

You think the inquiry has been shoddy?
There are doubts about the integrity and credibility of the officials who carried out the investigations. Just see who conducted the inquiry: the state police and the Ground Railway Police. Both are under Modi. How could they be objective or unbiased? Mahesh Bhatt and his friends have done a lot of work in Godhra. They say people are still being harassed and threatened.

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