On February 27th 2002, a fire on the Sabarmati Express train in the Gujarat town of Godhra resulted in the deaths of 59 people and sparked the Gujarat pogroms of 2002. Many of the victims were Hindu kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya. The fire was apparently started by a Muslim mob following a build-up of communal tension between the kar sevaks and local Muslims along the route. 31 people were later convicted for the attack.

Following the burning, Narendra Modi immediately declared that the fire was pre-planned, although there has never been any evidence of this. To date, it remains unclear whether this fire was an accident or a conspiracy, and if so by whom and why.

Following the deaths, the dead bodies were brought to Ahmedabad, paraded uncovered through the city and handed to Jaideep Patel of the VHP, in a move likely to cause communal violence. According to Ahmedabad police chief, P.C. Pande, this decision was taken at a top level.


Concerned Citizens Tribunal report.
Articles on
Discussion by former police chief R. B. Sreekumar.
Wikipedia page