Gujarat Riots: The True Story

The Truth of the 2002 riots

The Godhra Carnage

Difference between Godhra and other tragic incidents

Several people- unable to understand the sufferings of the Hindu society- have asked- “Why did riots occur only after Godhra? Why was nobody targeted after the Akshardham temple attack- or after the attacks on Mumbai on 26 November 2008?” Well- the answers are many.

Account of a 16-year-old survivor

Posted on May 22, 2008 - Filed Under 01 - The Godhra Carnage | 54 Comments

   On the 27th February, the Ahmedabad bound Sabarmati Express, carrying karsevaks from Ayodhya was barbarously attacked and burnt at Godhra in which around 60 karsevaks laid their lives. Gayatri Panchal a young eleventh class student was also amongst those who were returning from Ayodhya. She is a surviving witness to the inhuman atrocious cruelty in which right in front of her eyes two of her sisters and parents were burnt alive.

   Harshadbhai Panchal, a resident of Ramol, left for karseva at Ayodhya on the 22nd February, together with his wife Neetaben and three daughters, Pratiksha, Chhaya and Gayatri. His sister in law, her son, her neighbour Poojaben and her would be husband were also accompanying him.All of them were returning to Ahmedabad along with several other karsevaks. Harshadbhai and his family, Poojaben and her husband were in one compartment. While his sister in law and her husband and their son were in another compartment.

   The only survivor out of these ten, Gayatri, says about this horrible event that:

   “On the 27th morning, at around 8 a.m. the train left Godhra Station. The karsevaks were loudly chanting the Ram Dhoon. The train had hardly gone ½ Km., when it suddenly stopped. Somebody had perhaps pulled the chain to stop the train. Before anybody could know what had happened, we saw a huge mob approaching the train. People were carrying weapons like Gupti, Sphere, Swords and such other deadly weapons in their hands and were throwing stones at the train. We all got frightened and some how closed the windows and the doors of the compartment. People outside were shouting loudly, saying ‘Maro, Kato’ and were attacking the train. A loudspeaker from the Masjid close by was also very loudly shouting ‘Maro, Kato, Laden na dushmano ne Maro.’ These attackers were so fierce that they managed to break the windows and close the doors from outside before pouring petrol inside and setting the compartment on fire so that nobody could escape alive. A number of attackers entered the compartment and were beating the karsevaks and looting their belongings. The compartments were drenched in petrol all over. We were terrified and were shouting for help but who was there to help us? A few policemen were later seen approaching the compartment but they were also whisked away by the furious mob outside. There was so much of smoke in the compartment that we were unable to see each other and also getting suffocated. Going out was too difficult, however myself and Pooja some how managed to jump out through the windows. Pooja was hurt in her back and was unable to stand up. People outside were trying to hold us to take us away but we could escape and run under the burning train and succeeded in crawling towards the cabin. I have seen my parents and sisters being burnt alive right in front of my eyes.”

   Luckily, by the grace of God, Gayatri was not hurt too badly.

   “We somehow managed to go up to the station and meet our aunty (Masi). After the compartments were completely burnt the crowd started withering. We saw that even amongst them were men, women and youngsters like us both male as well as female. I returned here after evacuating the dead bodies of my family members at Godhra Station. Out of 18 of us ten had laid their lives”, she said.

   Gayatri’s father was a carpenter whereas her mother worked in the Madhyanha Bhojana Yojna (i.e. Mid-day meal scheme), her elder sister Pratiksha was serving in the Collectorate.

   In spite of what had happened, Gayatri still feels that she would any time once again venture to go for karseva. She says, “I shall not allow the sacrifice of my parents to go in vein.”

(Source: VSK, Gujarat and various English dailies- such as The Indian Express- 28 Feb 2002)

   The trial court in its judgment of 22 February 2011 convicting 31 people too said that the carnage was planned. Gayatri Panchal also told the SIT exactly the same in 2008, reported by the DNA on 27 June 2009.

   Among some details of the brutality, an event that reveals the killing of a Dalit karsevak in the Godhra massacre is worth reproducing. [3]The burning of innocent karsevaks alive was an event that made one’s hair stand erect. Umakant Govindbhai of Saijpur was 25 years of age and working in the Collector’s Office.On 27th February Umakant was in S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express. A mob of 2000 Muslims swarmed on this coach with Petrol cans, stones and sticks.They first threw stones on it and as the doors and windows were closed, threw petrol and set the entire coach on fire. Umakant, who was trying to break the closed door and get away, was pelted with stones by them and pushed with bamboos inside the coach.

  This sort of massacre was not seen anywhere in Independent India. Nor could this compare with any other event-such as the murder of Indira Gandhi, or the post-Godhra riots, or any of the brutal murders of the opponents of the CPI(M) in Kannur district of Kerala. The terrorist attack on the Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar or various other temples in India or deadly bomb blasts in various places, in no way, compare with this horrific massacre.

   Godhra was by no means an act of terrorism. Most right-thinking people claim so. But terrorism is completely different. The terror is temporary, the pain is momentary. Indira Gandhi was done to death by a couple of bullets. It was a natural case of murder, albeit of a Prime Minister. Ordinary murders occurring anywhere are mostly the result of stabbing or bullet shots.

  But Godhra was not that. It was much worse. It was an act of communalism and not real terrorism. Terrorists have no religion’ is a statement parroted many times in the media by many people. But Godhra was not done by 1 or 2 terrorists. It was done by a mob, a mass mob of more than two thousand people, ordinary people, not terrorists undergone training in training camps. Not terrorists armed with AK 47, AK 56 rifles or grenades. They were locals, not foreigners. The local Muslims did the barbaric, communal and criminal act of Godhra.

The Indian Express of March 5 2002 reported on Godhra that Congress leaders are accused in Godhra:
1- Mehmud Hussain Kalota, convener of the Congress district minority cell and president of the   Godhra municipality
2- Salim Abdul Ghaffar Sheikh, president of the Panchmahal Youth Congress
3- Abdul Rehman Abdul Majid Ghantia, a known Congress worker
4- Farroukh Bhana, secretary of the district Congress committee
5- Haji Bilal, a known Congress worker” 

When 31 people were convicted for Godhra roasting, 2 Congress men were given LIFE IMPRISONMENT and 1 was given DEATH penalty out of the above 5. Abdul Rehman Abdul Majid Ghantia and Farroukh Bhana have got life imprisonment and Haji Bilal has got death penalty – 3 out of these 5.

Some more details are given in the book. To know the full details, read the book.

Copyright ©

3 -Article by Dr Suvarna Raval in Marathi daily Tarun Bharat -21st July 2002


54 Responses to “Account of a 16-year-old survivor”

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  1. 20
    Isha POLAND Says:

    How can the act of one individual, or a group of individuals draw a bad name for the entire community? If it was a group of individuals who burnt the sabarmati express (god bless the souls of those who died) why was legal action not taken against those people? If their religion was so easily identified, why couldn’t the individuals be identified and brought to justice? We have police, a legal system, so why did a mob of extremists feel the need to dishonor and murder appx 1000 innocent people including children and women for the fault of a group of miscreants who perhaps belonged to the same community? And if this is justifiable, then is it ok now for the gujrati muslims (or any muslims) to take law in their hands and go on a killing spree and murder any hindu who walks their way because a certain group of hindu goons killed people of their community in 2002? No. Then how can anyone justify the gujrat muslim carnage. We read, we write, we hear we talk, but till the time we FEEL the pain of another as we would our own, such carnages would continue. Who takes the responsibility for ending the viscious cycle of giving and recieving pain? Someone has to. I am a hindu, and what binds me with a muslim is that we are both humans. Of course, there are many people who already know this because among reports of brutality, there were also accounts of hindus assisting their muslim neighbours. So, the point is, people as individuals are good or bad because of their DEEDS and not because of their religion. So, may all GOOD humans, wether hindu, christian, muslim or sikh, be blessed by god and may those political bastards who set the sabarmati express ablaze or the bastards who raped and killed hundereds of people, all rot in hell. God bless

  2. 19
    Deepak UNITED STATES Says:

    this is what I have been shouting for so long on this website… Have you seen the language they use in their articles.. Muslims did this, muslim did that..

    They have presented every single fact with communal look to it, as if hindus are the most peace loving, crime free, innocent childs on this planet. We beat out own wives and burn them for dowry, but that is all part of great hindu culture.

    These monsters tore aprt childre, young and elderly in the name of faith. They brutalzied entire families, communities and now are enjoying political returns sitting on heap of chared dead bodies of both hindus and muslims alike.

    It gives me utter disgust to even think that there are people like these in my own community, whose sole job is to create hatred, divide and suspicion between common man…but sooner or later, we will be awake enough to kick these people out of our nation and hopefully out of this world forever in true salvation for their disgusted minds and souls.

  3. 18
    Isha POLAND Says:

    The 16 yr old girl in this account, and the hundereds of people who were brutalized in the carnage that followed, are all victims alike. What does their religion and have to do with it? We have become biased in our sympathy as well! Some secular nation we are! I am a woman and my heart shudders when i read about attrocities against another woman, man or child, their religion notwithstanding. When would we realise that all riots, especially communal are politically motivated and not the result of the thoughts or actions of the common man of any religious faith. May god guide us!

  4. 17
    Manoj POLAND Says:

    Does secularism means to support muslims’ barbarism and to condemn the hindus for even their visits to holy place and their chanting of prayers. These ‘so called’ secular men are turd, who dont want to pay even iota of attention to hindu’s interests.

  5. 16
    Ramesh AUSTRALIA Says:

    @ Deepak, I will always come back to respond to you. It is Mohit Sharma who has decided not to reply to you- not me. Even if you are convinced that we two are the same person, the reality is different.
    Ramesh Mantri, Canberra

  6. 15
    Deepak UNITED STATES Says:



    REMEMBER, THE GUJARAT LOCAL DAILES REPORTED ON FEB 28 THAT HINDU WOMEN WERE ABDUCTED , RAPED AND THEIR BREAST CUT OFF, for the sole purpose to incite mobs. And weeks after riots, they gave an publishing in one corner of the newspaper saying no such report was confirmed.

    So please bare me the so called evidence that comes from any source is GUJARAT GOVT/ GUJARAT MEDIA AND GUJARATI COMMUNITY.

    They are all anti-muslim, and would do anything to remain in power.

    I am not saying that this girl is a liar, but that does not mean every world she is saying is hard lines truth. She could easily be fabricated…

    Biggest proof of fabrication in the whole system is AMIT SHAH’S case, who is now clearly in good grip of LAW which proves that gujarat politicians, beaurocracy and extremist hindu groups will do anything to serve their purpose.

    Like MODI kept silent and first let godhra happen, and then the real motive of riots happened, which got him rule in state for 3 times..

    Just ask yoursefl, same person who is so famous in GUJARAT, is treated like a criminal in rest of india and wordwide?/ do hindus of rest of India don;t want a leader like MODI??

    Because they are not carried away by his cheap game of communal divide and rule. This is the only reason hindu in gujarat support him, because he has created an environment fuill of fear and death, so they have to support his goverment or fear more riots…


    The pain you are showing for one hindu girl, try to show 1 % of that towards victims of GENOCIDE THAT followed godbhra and then we will see your real sympathy for DEATH OF INNOCENT PEOPLE!!

  7. 14
    Mohit Sharma AUSTRALIA Says:

    And this girl’s statements were recorded THE SAME DAY 27 FEB NOT THE NEXT DAY. IDIOT BRAINLESS SADIST, the english dailies the next day reported this, including ultra anti-BJP ones in the foreign media.
    Bye Bye Deepak, you idiot, I wont respond to a sadist like you again…

  8. 13
    Mohit Sharma AUSTRALIA Says:

    A foreign daily Portsmouth Herald reported-
    “Sixteen-year-old Gayatri Panchal saw her mother, father and two sisters die before her eyes in the train fire as they returned home after participating in a religious ceremony at Ayodhya.
    “We were sleeping and I opened my eyes when I felt the heat. I saw flames everywhere. My mother was in flames, her clothes were on fire,” she said. “Someone pulled me out of the compartment and then I saw my father’s body being taken out. He was covered in black. Then I fainted.””


  9. 12
    Deepak UNITED STATES Says:

    so this 16 year old girl gave her statement to who?/ THE GUJARAT POLICE I am assuming?? :D Well enough said…

    If GUJARAT POLICE and GUJARAT HIGH COURT JUSDGES cannot be trusted for their duty, why would anyone belive that the statements by this girl were infact recorded the very next day?

    They have manipulated FIRs, removed evidence and even fabricated deaths to show that thesenwere infact communal riots and not GENOCIDE.

    GUJARAT GOVERNMENT, GUJARAT POLICE AND GUJJU PATELS are all chhakkas and slave to sick hindu extremist ideology that gets its rootas from NAZI GERMAN leaders who tried to clean GERMANY once…

  10. 11
    Mohit Sharma AUSTRALIA Says:

    Well I have realized what Mr Ramesh Mantrri said. I will just say 1 answer- This 16 year old girl gave this story ON 27 FEB 2002 reported by all English dailies, seems very unlikely that anyone in shock will be able to fabricate lies tutored by others on the same day, and she did indeed lose her parents and sisters, so the claim is very credible.On the other hands stories by Muslim so-called ‘witnesses’ were concocted much after the actual incidents, and many of them contain horrible loopholes and contradictions and factual mistakes. This site has told the truth that no woman’s womb was cut open and foetus taken out, and Jafri’s daughters were not raped. Of course, every story given by Muslim witnesses is not false but those which are false must be refuted.
    I can also reply in your language but I have realized there is no point in it.

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