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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 July, 2004, 09:55 GMT 10:55 UK
Fresh probe in India train attack
Godhra train
Fifty-eight Hindu activists were killed in the attack
India's new government has ordered a fresh investigation into an alleged attack on a train which triggered off religious riots in Gujarat state.

Fifty-eight people were killed when the train carrying Hindu activists was allegedly torched by a Muslim mob in the town of Godhra in 2002.

The incident led to riots in Gujarat in which more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed.

Some 56 people are being held in connection with the Godhra attack.

India's railway minister Laloo Prasad Yadav told parliament on Wednesday that the fresh probe by his ministry would be completed in three months.

Unclear

An existing investigation into the attack led by two retired judges has yet to pinpoint the exact cause of the fire on the train.

It is still unclear whether any inflammable material was hurled into the train from outside or whether a short circuit triggered off the blaze.

Mr Yadav told parliament that forensic investigations revealed that inflammable material inside the train had led to the fire.

He said the former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led federal government had not made the forensic report public.

The train was carrying passengers returning from the disputed religious site of Ayodhya in northern India, where extremists tore down a mosque in 1992.

It came under a barrage of stones and was then set alight as it pulled out of a station in Godhra.

The Godhra incident sparked some of the worst religious riots seen in India since the country came into being in 1947.

Godhra train
Violence engulfed the state for weeks
Independent estimates put the number of people killed by the mobs at closer to 2,000.

There were allegations that the attacks on the minority community were carefully-orchestrated - and that members of the state's Hindu nationalist BJP government, played a key role in the rioting.

Gujarat's hardline BJP chief minister, Narendra Modi, described the violence as a "natural reaction" to the Godhra attack.

He was heavily criticised for failing to stop the violence, but no action was taken against him.


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