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Pulwama, Balakot and the burning of coach S-6 of Sabarmati Express

29th Jan 2021
Pulwama, Balakot and the burning of coach S-6 of Sabarmati Express

Photo: Indian paramilitary soldiers make their way to the encounter site, where nine people including four Indian soldiers were killed in a fierce gun-battle with militants, in Pinglena area of Pulwama, Srinagar, Kashmir, India on February 18, 2019. Police claimed that the mastermind militant behind the recent Pulwama suicide attack which killed more than 40 Indian soldiers was among the militants killed in the gun-battle. (Credit: Faisal Khan/Anadolu Agency)


Leaked chat between right-wing news channel owner and media body chief gives an unmistakable hint that Pulwama and Balakot incidents were contrived to aid Narendra Modi sweep the polls


N D Sharma

The leaked WhatsApp exchange between Republic TV founder-editor Arnab Goswami and former CEO of the BARC, Partho Dasgupta, only confirms what was suspected that the Pulwama terrorist attack that claimed the lives of 40-odd Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officers on February 14, 2019, could not be what Narendra Modi wanted the people to believe.

On February 27 the Indian Air Force (IAF) bombed the terror camp at Balakot in Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. The Modi government claimed that the strike was in retaliation to Pakistan-trained terror attack on CRPF vehicles in Pulwama district. It was never explained how the suicide bomber had been able to penetrate the high-security network to reach the vehicles, particularly as the security in the region was tightened at that time due to the ongoing Amarnath Yatra. Nor did the Government disclose a precise number of terrorists killed in the airstrike on the Balakot training camp.

As the Government had failed to satisfy the people on both Pulwama and Balakot incidents, suspicion had grown in the public mind that the Modi coterie was itself engineering terrorist attacks to make some political gains in the elections.

Hari Shankar Vyas, Editor-Owner of the Hindi daily Naya India and once an ardent supporter of Modi, wrote in one of his columns that National Security Advisor Ajit Doval was squarely responsible for Pulwama terrorist attack as well as for providing erroneous Intel on Balakot target to IAF with the result that terrorists and their madrasah escaped the air attack. The Goswami-Dasgupta chat now gives a broad – but unmistakable – hint that these incidents were contrived to make Modi sweep the Lok Sabha polls.

Opposition leaders, who demanded the Government, divulge how many terrorists were killed in the airstrike, were branded pro-Pakistan and traitors by Modi and then BJP President, Amit Shah.

Then, the family members of the officers killed in the terrorist attack in Pulwama had also become pro-Pakistan and traitors as per Modi-Shah duo’s definition. Ram Vakeel of Mainpuri was one of the officers killed in the Pulwama terror attack. His wife Geeta Devi asked the Government, through a newspaper interview, to provide proof of the terrorists killed in the airstrike. His sister Ramraksha said the people need to know the outcome of the IAF strike.

“How do we know that the strike occurred, and the terrorists were killed?” she asked. Vakeel’s mother Amitshree also demanded evidence of the terrorists killed in the airstrike. Earlier, Sarmishtha Devi, wife of slain CRPF officer Pradeep Kumar, had said that they were unsatisfied with the Government’s narrative.


The 2002 Godhra train burning

Modi was perhaps emboldened to orchestrate Pulwama and Balakot by his “successful” Godhra experiment. All the theories put forward by then Gujarat Chief Minister Modi and his Government about the burning of coach S-6 of Sabarmati Express off Godhra railway station on February 27, 2002, turned out to be bunkum. All the passengers in the coach were not Kar Sevaks (Hindu volunteers) returning from Ayodhya.

According to a Railway Ministry statement of August 21, 2002, in Coach S-6 on that day, a total of 59 passengers had made reservations; most of these were made from Lucknow and Kanpur. Three of them had cancelled their bookings.

The Railway Ministry had after a “comprehensive investigation” found that out of the 56 persons who had their reservations in the coach, four were killed, nine were injured and seven were still missing.” The Railway Ministry further said that its investigation found that “32 of them were alive and safe” and that the remaining passengers who had perished in the burning coach “appear to have boarded the coach without reservation.”

Modi, however, promptly completed the “identification” of 58 Kar Sevaks. He also arranged their cremations fitting to martyrs and announced Rs 2 lakh (£2,000) to each next of kin. How did he identify them so fast when most did not even have reservations in the coach? Then Gujarat Minister of State for Home, Amit Shah, had concluded that the fire was set after throwing petrol from outside. This theory was debunked by Gujarat’s own government forensic science lab, whose team of forensic experts visited the crime scene on May 3, 2002.

To reconstruct the real picture of how the offence was committed, a coach was kept on the same spot. With the help of different types of containers, experimental demonstrations were also carried out using liquids inside the coach.

They found that the height of the window of the coach was around 7 ft. from the ground. As such, it was impossible to throw any inflammable fluid inside from outside the coach from any bucket or carboy because in doing so, most of the fluid was getting thrown outside. This was followed by a massacre of Muslims which got a thumping victory to Modi and his party in the Assembly elections a few months later.

N D Sharma,Senior journalist and patron of eNewsroom India.Courtesy of

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