After 14 years of being on the run, a man who allegedly planned and executed the attack on the Sabarmati Express as it neared the Godhra station has been arrested.
- Farooq Bhana planned and executed Sabarmati Express attack: cops
- Train set on fire as it neared Godhra station, 59 kar sewaks killed
- Godhra train attack followed by Gujarat riots; 1,100 people killed
Farooq Bhana, arrested near Godhra on Wednesday, has been described by the police as a key conspirator in the burning of the train, which left 59 people dead, most of them kar sewaks returning from a visit to Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.
The attack was followed by communal riots that tore through Gujarat, killing 1,100.
"These men conveyed messages to the people who burned the train, that the S6 coach has to be burned. They explained the mission to the miscreants," senior Gujarat police officer JK Bhatt said, adding , "All the key conspirators, including Farooq, had met at the Aman Guest House, where the other team members were instructed to carry out the attack on the train the next day... arrangements for fuel to set the train coaches on fire were also discussed."
At the time of the train attack, Bhana was a local representative - a councillor in Godhra, elected as an independent candidate. Along with other independents, he had formed the board at the Godhra municipality with the support of the Congress.
Despite a high-alert or red corner notice for him, he lived in Mumbai using a fake identity of Umar Ahmed, managing frequent visits to his family at different locations near Godhra town. The last one at Kalol, about 40 km from the town.
31 people were convicted in 2011 for the Godhra train attack; 11 of them were given the death sentence.