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“2002 Godhra train burning case” ; ‘Key conspirator’ arrested after 19 years

Rafiq Bhatuk, The key conspirator in the 2002 Godhra train burning incident, has been captured by police. He was absconded for as many as 19 years before being arrested from Godhra. As per the local police, 51-year-old Bhatuk was part of the main group that planned a plot to target the train in which kar sevaks were returning from Ayodhya. The mob torched a coach of Sabarmati Express near the Godhra railway station and 59 persons were burned to death on February 26, 2002.

With a clue from sources, the police invaded a house in the Signal Falia area near the Godhra railway station on Sunday night and captured Bhatuk. The police declared that he was included in stone-pelting on the bogey and even pouring petrol inside before it was torched by other involved. The incident triggered huge riots in the State in which over 1000 people were killed.

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According to the police, the involved had left for Delhi after his name appeared during the investigation. He is facing murder and rioting charges. Three other co-accused Salim Ibrahim Badam alias Salim Panwala, Shaukat Charkha, and Abdulmajid Yousuf Mitha are still missing and are supposed to be in Pakistan as per the Gujarat police.

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