Posts Tagged ‘Communal’

A timeline of the Godhra case: From February 26, 2002 to March 1, 2011

One of the most sensitive cases of Gujarat that led to unrest and tarnished the entire image that the state previously had – The Train Burning at Godhra. The incident shocked the Indian psyche and led to one of the worst communal riots India had seen unfold in Gujarat.

What actually happened? Why did the criminal justice system take nine long years to give its verdict? What happened in this time gap?


FEBRUARY 26, 2002

9 pm: A pre-plan was made to attack the Sabarmati Express at Room no. 8 of Aman Guest House at Signal Falia.

FEBRUARY 27, 2002

• 7-42 am: The train arrives at Godhra station.
• 7-42 to 7.47 am: During the five-minute halt, there is a scuffle between a Kar Sevak and a Muslim tea vendor.
• 7-47 am: The train starts from Godhra station, leaving some passengers on the platform.
• 7-48 to 8-00 am: There is stone-throwing and violence by the mob.
• 8-05 am: Train stops for the second time near Cabin ‘A’ of Godhra station.
• 8-05 to 8-17 am: A group of people comes running from the parcel office towards the train and there is more stone-throwing and violence. The coach is set on fire. The fire-tenders were stopped from reaching the spot.• 8-25 am: The police arrive and open fire to disperse the mob.
59 Kar Sevaks die after S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express was torched. FIR was filed against 1500 people.

FEBRUARY 28 – MARCH 31, 2002

Communal violence erupts in various parts of Gujarat, killing over 1200 people.

MARCH 3, 2002

Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO) invoked against those arrested for Godhra train burning case. (POTA was an Ordinance before becoming an Act)

MARCH 6, 2002

Gujarat government appoints a Commission under Commission of Inquiry Act to probe the Godhra incident headed by KG Shah to complete the report and submit within 3 months.

MARCH 9, 2002

Police include IPC section 120B (Criminal conspiracy) against all accused.

MARCH 25, 2002

POTO suspended on all accused.

MARCH 28, 2002

The Prevention of Terrorism Act replaced the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO) 2001.

MAY 22, 2002

Retired Justice Nanavati was appointed as a part of the commission.

MAY 27, 2002

First charge-sheet filed against 54 accused.

FEBRUARY 18, 2003

POTA re-invoked against the accused.

NOVEMBER 21, 2003

Supreme Court stays judicial proceedings against all riot related cases including Godhra Train burning.


UC Banerjee heads a committee to probe into the train burning case after the then railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav asked for it.

SEPTEMBER 17, 2004

POTA repealed by UPA Government.

SEPTEMBER 21, 2004

As POTA has been repealed, there is a decision taken to review the POTA charges against the accused.

JANUARY 17, 2005

Justice UC Banerjee submits a report suggesting the fire in S-6 was an accident.

MAY 16, 2005

POTA Review committee gives its opinion not to charge accused under POTA given.

OCTOBER 13, 2006

Gujarat HC rules that the formation of UC Banerjee Committee was set up illegally, in violation of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 which prohibits the setting up of separate commissions by state and central governments to probe a matter of public importance.

MARCH 26, 2008

Supreme Court Constitutes Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate Godhra Train burning case and eight other post-Godhra riots.

SEPTEMBER 18, 2008

Nanavati Commission report submits its report on Godhra Train burning incident and says it was a pre-planned conspiracy.

FEBRUARY 12, 2009

Gujarat HC upholds POTA review committee decision that the act cannot be applied.

MAY 1, 2009

Supreme Court lifts the stay on Godhra train and all other cases after it finds SIT has made considerable progress.

JUNE 1, 2009

A fast track trial court starts the proceedings inside the Sabarmati jail premises.

MAY 6, 2010

Again, the Supreme Court restrains trial courts not to pronounce judgment in the train burning case and other riot cases.

SEPTEMBER 28, 2010

Trial concludes but no pronouncement of judgment due to stay by Supreme Court.

JANUARY 18, 2011

Supreme Court lifts the ban on pronouncement of verdict.

FEBRUARY 22, 2011

Trial Court Convicts 31 and acquits 63 others.

MARCH 1, 2011

11 people sentenced to death and 20 to life in prison.
In the meantime, 5 accused died and 8 were tried by a juvenile court as they were under-aged. 253 witnesses were examined and 1500 Documentary evidences were presented by Gujarat police to the court.


The ghastly calamity was brutal. It endangered the moral fabric of Gujarat. Just like one associates Gujarat with development and growth, Godhra is the darker side of it. Humanity, in general, was the sole sufferer.

The conspiracies and the bad intentions of the perpetrators will continue to succeed as long as we let them to continue. It is in our hands to restore faith, humanity and equality. Let us grow collectivity and give justice to our pledge – All Indians are my brothers and sisters!

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