Farooq Bhana, the alleged mastermind behind setting fire to Sabarmati Express train at Godhra railway station in 2002, was arrested by Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad. Bhana has been on the run for the last 14 years.
It may be mentioned that coach No. S-6 of Sabarmati Express train was torched by a mob at Godhra railway station in which 59 people, mostly karsevaks from Ayodhya, were killed. A day later, the incident triggered communal riots in Gujarat, killing 1,100 people.
Bhana, a former corporator of Godhra municipality, was picked up from Kalol in Panchmahal district where he was to meet his family members.
“Bhana had said in a meeting comprising 20 persons plotted to burn the Sabarmati Express. Bhana had said that the train would be late and reach Godhra at 7am instead of 2am,” said SP (ATS) Himanshu Shukla, citing the police chargesheet.
They said Bhana will be handed over to Supreme Court appointed SIT which has probed the case.
In 2011, 31 persons were convicted by a special court. While 11 were sentenced to death, 20 were awarded life imprisonment. Judgment is still awaited after the convicts challenged the trial court’s order in the Gujarat High Court.