Over the years, several residents of Citizen Nagar have died of stomach and lung cancer. Photo: Tarushi Aswani

By Tarushi Aswani

Godhra (Gujarat): “We did not leave our homes on January 22 [2024], and we could feel that the atmosphere would change for the worse,” says Zubedabibi, a survivor of the 2002 Gujarat Riots.

On February 27, 2002, a train with Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya stopped at Godhra, a small town in Gujarat’s Panchmahal district, approximately 150 kilometres from the state capital, Gandhinagar. After an alleged altercation occurred between the Muslim vendors working at the station and the passengers inside the Sabarmati Express, a fire is said to have erupted in one of the coaches of the train, killing 59 people.

Even after two decades have passed since the incident, the details of what happened before the fire remain unclear.

Consequently, on February 28, 2002, Hindu mobs set out blaming Muslims for the deaths of the pilgrims, resulting in waves of violence. Rapes, looting, and murders took place, with the Muslim community being the major target. The violence lasted for more than two months.

This story was originally published in thewire.in. Read the full story here .