The Jan Sangharsh Manch representing victims in the 2002 Godhra riots picked holes in the state government's ‘conspiracy’ theory in the Sabarmati train inferno. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had backed this theory.
Making a power-point presentation before the Nanavati-Shah Commission, Jan Sangharsh Manch counsel Mukul Sinha sought to dent the Modi government’s charges that setting on fire the S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express was a ‘pre-planned conspiracy’ of some Muslims in Godhra.
Citing a decision made by the railways in 1995 to modify the alarm chain function, Sinha showed the Commission photographic evidence that the new system — which does not allow a person to rotate the relevant disc from outside — had been installed in the ill-fated coach.
This fact disproves the government's theory that the train was stopped for the second time as some Muslims had climbed from outside to rotate the chain-pulling disc.
The theory that the chain was pulled a second time is important to the Gujarat government and the VHP. Surviving passengers as well as kar sewaks have already testified before the Commission that they had pulled the chain the first time as some of their colleagues were left behind.
Contesting the VHP’s charges that the ‘conspiracy’ was to burn all passengers when the train passed the Godhra station at the scheduled time of 2.55 am, Sinha said another batch of kar sewaks to Ayodhya had passed the same station unharmed 36 minutes past midnight on February 26.