It is alleged that, on 27th February 2002, the fire in which 58 people were burnt alive in the S6 coach of the ill-fated Sabarmati Express was started from inside by pouring over 120 litres of petrol and alighting it as part of a pre-planned conspiracy. Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM) has always maintained that the Godhra train burning incident was an unfortunate accident because of a spontaneous fire and was not a pre-planned conspiracy as alleged.
Let’s see extracts from witness testimonies of some of the survivors of this S6 Coach of the Sabaramati Express made before the Nanavati Commission appointed by the Gujarat Government.
Deposition by Witness No.34: Maheshbhai Cheljibhai Chaudhary
I became unconscious on the ground immediately after jumping (from the train window). After some I regained my consciousness. I was taken to Godhra civil hospital. While I had jumped out and fallen on the ground, I was not beaten by anybody nor was I threatened of beating by anybody. Before jumping out from the coach I had not seen any fluid on the floor of the coach near the place where I was sitting.
Deposition by Witness No.35: Savitaben Tribhovandas Sadhu
I had not seen any person coming inside the coach from outside and pouring any fluid…
Deposition by witness no.37: Dwarkabhai Shankarbhai Patel
Till I came out of the coach, I had not seen any flames. As long as I was inside the coach, I had not noticed any fluid having been poured inside the coach.
Deposition by witness no 38: Jayantibhai Umeddas Patel
Till I came out of the coach, I had not seen any material burning on the floor. As long as I was inside the coach, I had not seen any person pouring any fluid inside the coach from carboy. The smell of the smoke was like that of half-burnt scooter or rickshaw. The smell was like that of burning rubber. It was also like burning of luggage. My bag of cotton cloth was also burnt in the incident…
Deposition by witness no 40. Ramfersinh Babusinh Rajput
The flames were moving towards seats from the window and because of the flame, my ear was burnt. At that time there was no fire on the floor of the coach. At that time there was no fire on the upper berths and luggage stacked thereon. I had not seen any person throwing inflammable fluid inside the coach. While I was moving all around for getting out, I had not seen any inflammable fluid having been thrown on the floor.
Deposition by witness no 44. Lalanprasad Kishorilal Chorasia
My clothes were burnt. The police have taken custody of my clothes. I had not seen any person inside the coach putting any inflammable fluid.
Atleast 6 depositions made by survivors of the S6 coach before the Nanavati Commission state that they had not seen any inflammable fluid on the floor of the train. Furthermore, there are also testimonies which state that the smell was that of burning rubber which is distinctly different from the smell of burning petrol.