BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  World: South Asia
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Thursday, 28 February, 2002, 06:57 GMT
Dozens arrested over India train attack
The gutted wreckage of one of the train cars
There are fears that the attack will spark retaliation
Fifty-one suspects have been arrested following an arson attack on a train in the western Indian state of Gujarat, which killed 58 people, government officials said.

Those arrested are being held on charges of arson, rioting and looting. In an interview with the BBC, the state's Home Minister, Gobhardan Jhorapia, implied that those arrested were all Muslims.

The final death toll is 58 and the dead bodies have been sent to Ahmedabad

Jayanti Ravi, Godhra official
The attack on the train, which was carrying Hindu pilgrims, is being blamed on suspected Muslim militants.

Meanwhile violence has reportedly broken out in the city of Ahmedabad, the commercial capital of Gujarat, as an angry mob moved through the streets burning vehicles and looting shops.

The outnumbered police have been firing shots over the heads of the crowd that has gathered in the centre of the city, witnesses said. Some reports said Muslim shops were being targeted, but it is not yet clear whether the attackers are Hindus or Muslims.

The mob blocked roads with tyres, pulled mattresses, quilts and other goods from stores and started fires in the streets, then burned the shops and at least one truck, witnesses said.

Amid fears of possible retaliation for the train attack, security has been stepped up across India to avert religious clashes, and curfews have been imposed.

Police in Gujurat said three people had been stabbed to death in apparent retaliation for Wednesday's attack at Godhra, a town with a sizeable Muslim minority.

Appealing for calm and an end to religious violence, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has called off his trip to a Commonwealth summit in Australia.

Children killed

The death toll from the attack rose to 58 after all bodies were counted, a senior local official said on Thursday.

"The final death toll is 58 and the dead bodies have been sent to Ahmedabad," Jayanti Ravi, head of the local administration in Godhra, told Reuters news agency.

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee
Vajpayee cancelled his trip to the Commonwealth summit

The train came under a barrage of stones and was then set alight as it pulled out of a station in Godhra. The town has a history of Hindu-Muslim violence.

Several carriages were gutted and some victims were burnt beyond recognition, officials said. Fifteen children were among the dead.

Dozens more passengers were injured and 38 were said to be in critical condition.

The passengers included Hindu activists who are threatening to build a Hindu temple on the site of a mosque in the city of Ayodhya which was torn down in 1992, sparking widespread rioting.

The BBC's Jill McGivering
"The remains of the dead have now been removed"
World Hindu Council of America's Gauran Vaishnav
"This is not a question of Hindu against Muslim"
Gujarat Home Minister, Gobhardan Jhorapia
"We are rounding up the people who are suspected in this incident"
See also:

27 Feb 02 | South Asia
Eyewitness: Indian train attack
27 Feb 02 | South Asia
In pictures: India train attack
26 Feb 02 | South Asia
Vajpayee firm on Ayodhya
25 Feb 02 | South Asia
Militants converge on Ayodhya
27 Feb 02 | South Asia
Timeline: Ayodhya crisis
27 Feb 02 | South Asia
Q&A: The Ayodhya dispute
18 Oct 01 | South Asia
Hindu hardliners' Ayodhya strategy
14 Feb 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: India
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more South Asia stories