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A Tribune Exclusive
Railway coach was set afire from inside
Says official forensic report on Godhra carnage
Swati Chaturvedi
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 15
The National Democratic Alliance suppressed for three months the only forensic investigation report that conclusively established that the railway coach in which more than 60 kar sevaks died was set afire from inside.

It is now clear as per the report of the Forensic Science Laboratory available with The Tribune that the incident which sparked off the 2002 riots in Gujarat in which more than 1000 Muslims died happened because according to the report 60 litres of inflammable liquid was poured by someone inside the train by standing on the passage between the northern side door of the eastern side of the S-6 coach and the compartment of seat No 72. The coach was set on fire immediately thereafter.

This conclusion was arrived at after the Gujarat-based lab carried out experimental demonstrations using a recreated coach to find out how the fire occurred. A team of forensic experts led by A N Joshi conducted the experiment.

The report has the following findings

(A) The height of the window of the coach was around 7 ft from the ground at that place. Under the circumstances it was impossible to throw any inflammable fluid inside from outside the coach from any bucket because most of the fluid would have landed outside.

(B) There also appears to be no possibility that any inflammable liquid was thrown through the door of the coach.

(C) A large number of marks were seen on the outer part of the southern side of the burnt coach S-6, which was due to stones. Some of these stones were also found scattered inside the coach similarly glass pieces were also seen. It was found that the glass pieces were that of the window panes. From this observation it is possible to say that there was large-scale stone pelting on the coach from outside and the glass on the windows on the southern side was primarily broken due to the stone throwing and the glass on the northern side was broken due to the heat of the fire.

(D) The report also rules out the possibility of the windows being broken by using iron rods from outside

(E) No sign was observed on the use of any corrosive fluid like acid in the fire

(F) By observing the conditions of the frames of the windows of the coach it appears that all the windows of the coach were closed at the time of the fire.

The report came in during the tenure of the NDA government, which did not make the findings public. With Union Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav ordering a fresh probe sources say these forensic findings will be an important part of the investigations.
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