March-April  2002 

Call to arms

AHMEDABAD: Terming the attack on Sabarmati Express at Godhra in Panchamahal district of Gujarat as a "pre-planned, violent act of terrorism", chief minister Narendra Modi said the state government was viewing the incident "very seriously".

— (PTI, 28 February 28, 1:02:51 a.m.)


‘As soon the train left the platform and moved a bit further, about half-a-kilometre or so, it was stoned. After the stoning, inflammable materials like diesel, petrol etc. were thrown in – looks like a pre-planned incident – and immediately the S6 coach was set on fire… This is not a riot. In a riot there is a confrontation, in a communal riot there is retaliation. This is just pre-planned, organised and as though all things have been prepared in advance. And for the situation to develop in a matter of minutes – it looks like an organised sort of crime…’

— ( Gordhan Zadaphiya, minister of state for home, Gujarat (Aaj Tak, 27 February 2002.)


Union home minister L K Advani on Monday said the Godhra mayhem was a "pre-meditated attack" and described the arson that followed as "nothing but communal violence." Mr Advani told a crowded press conference here that while the Godhra incident was the result of a "pre-meditated" plan, the subsequent killing spree "was nothing but communal violence."

— (Daily Pioneer, 4 March 2002.)


‘This has never happened in the history of independent India. Hindu society will avenge the Godhra killings. Muslim should accept the fact that Hindus are not wearing bangles. We will respond vigorously to all such incidents.’

— (Pravin Togadia, international general secretary, VHP; in an interview to Hotline in Ayodhya).


LUCKNOW: Chairman of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas Ram Chandra Paramhans has warned of a possible Hindu backlash. "These unarmed kar sevaks, who were merely chanting Ram naam, were peacefully going back to their homes," Paramhans said, adding that a reaction to this attack by "Islamic jihadis" could not be ruled out.

—(The Telegraph, 28 February 2002.)


The violence during the bandh was a result of natural outpouring of anger and grief over the Godhra massacre.’

— (VHP vice-president, Acharya Giriraj Kishore, on the morning of 28 February 2002; in The Times of India.)


‘Whoever stays with us will benefit. You can see the results in UP. In this country whoever stays with the Hindu community and Hindutva, will benefit, or they will suffer.’

— (Jaideep Patel, joint secretary, VHP Gujarat and an accused in the Naroda Patiya massacre in Ahmedabad; Newshour, Star News, 27 February 2002.)


‘Incidents like this (Godhra) show the psyche of a community. What was the reason for the pilgrims who were attacked when they came from Amarnath? What was the reason? That is the psyche, I say…communal violence can be checked only (when we understand) why this incident happened, who did it, what is the psyche behind it? This should be studied.’

— (Acharya Giriraj Kishore; Newshour, Star News, 27 February 2002).

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