STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Godhra 2002 train coach fire: Key accused held after 19 years in Gujarat

Based on a specific tip-off, a team of Godhra police raided a house in Signal Falia area located near the railway station on Sunday night and picked up Bhatuk, Patil told PTI.

Published: 15th February 2021 10:58 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th February 2021 10:58 PM   |  A+A-

59 persons lost their lives when the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was torched at Godhra Railway Station on February 27, 2002.

59 persons lost their lives when the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was torched at Godhra Railway Station on February 27, 2002. (File Photo | AFP)

By PTI

AHMEDABAD: Almost 19 years after a mob torched a coach of Sabarmati Express at Godhra station in Panchmahal district of Gujarat which caused the death of 59 'karsevaks', police has nabbed key accused, Rafiq Hussain Bhatuk, from Godhra town, an officer said on Monday.

Bhatuk (51) was part of the "core group" of the accused persons involved in the entire conspiracy.

He has been on the run for the last 19 years, said Panchmahal Superintendent of Police Leena Patil.

Based on a specific tip-off, a team of Godhra police raided a house in Signal Falia area located near the railway station on Sunday night and picked up Bhatuk, Patil told PTI.

"Bhatuk was part of the core group of the accused who had hatched the entire conspiracy, incited mob and even arranged petrol to torch the train compartment.

He fled to Delhi immediately after his name cropped up during investigation.

He was facing murder and rioting charges among others," Patil said.

A total of 59 'karsevaks' were killed in the Godhra train burning incident on February 27, 2002, triggering the worst communal riots in the history of Gujarat.

The SP said Bhatuk used to work as a labourer at Godhra railway station.

"He was involved in pelting stones on the compartment and pouring petrol inside before it was set on fire by other accused," she added.

An FIR on torching of the coach allegedly by a mob from Signal Falia area located near the railway station had been registered with the Godhra Railway Police, said Patil.

"After fleeing Godhra following the incident, Bhatuk spent most of his time in Delhi where he worked on railway stations and also at construction sites as a labourer. He also sold household items on a handcart," the SP said.

As part of his strategy to evade arrest, Bhatuk shifted his family from Sultan Falia, where he used to live before the Godhra incident, to Signal Falia recently, said Patil.

"We recently learnt that he had changed his house and visited his family in the past too. However, we couldn't catch him as he used to leave after a day or two. This time, our teams managed to catch him. We will hand him over to Godhra railway police for further investigation," said Patil.

She said at least three accused--Salim Ibrahim Badam aka Salim Panwala, Shaukat Charkha and Abdulmajid Yousuf Mitha--still remain at large in this case.

It is believed that the trio had fled to Pakistan, she added.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp