Friday, March 5

Prime accused in Godhra case arrested after 19 years

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Rafik Bhatuk, a prime accused in the 2002 Godhra Sabarmati Express carnage case was held by the Godhra police on Friday. Bhatuk was nabbed from Godhra itself where he had returned after staying outside the state for quite some time.

The Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Panchmahal police and Godhra town police raided a house in the Signal Falia locality in the town and nabbed Bhatuk. He used to sell fruits to earn a living.

Bhatuk along with other prime accused was accused of dousing the S-6 coach in the Sabarmati Express with petrol. The coach was then set ablaze by someone else. As many as 59 Ramsevaks who were returning from Ayodhya were killed in the incident triggering communal riots in the state.

Bhatuk had escaped after being named as an accused in the case. On the run, he had gone to Delhi and other places. He used to stay in Mohammadi Mohalla in Godhra when the incident took place but shifted to Signal Falia later.

Sources said that three prime accused now remain to be arrested. These include Salim Panwala and Shaukat Charkha who are believed to be in Pakistan and a Red Corner Notice has been issued against them.