"We will teach a lesson to those who have done this. No one will be spared and we will make sure that the forces behind this act will never dare to repeat it," Gujarat's angry Home Minister Gordhanbhai Zadaphia told rediff.com
"The bogie burning is a terrorist act similar to the attack on the American Centre in Kolkata. The culprits in both cases are the same," he added.
Zadaphia is camping in Godhra town where 58 people, including 25 women and 12 children, were burnt alive when a mob set fire to a bogie of the Sabarmati Express on February 27.
"Most of the people who died were members of the VHP [Vishwa Hindu Parishad]. Many of the dead women and children were returning from Ayodhya," he said.
The situation is tense and curfew has been imposed in Godhra and all over Gujarat, the minister added.
"We have arrested 60 suspects and we will be arresting many more. We have also sealed the two petrol pumps, which had supplied the petrol to burn the bogie," he said.
When asked about Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Union Home Minister L K Advani's call to the VHP to suspend the Ram temple movement, he said, "There is no question of withdrawing our support to the VHP. Whatever the VHP is doing is in the interest of the nation, in the interest of Hindus.
"How can you tolerate the killings of innocent people in this manner? Without instigation, this kind of attack is not possible. We will find out the instigators. Chief Minister Narendra Modi has ordered an inquiry into the incident and I have asked the district police chief to give me the results in a day or two," he said.
Godhra has a history of communal trouble. State Health Minister Ashok Bhatt, who is also camping at Godhra, pointed out that the area was under curfew for more than a hundred days in 1991-92 after communal violence broke out.
"Godhra has a notorious reputation. Though not close to the international border, nor a port town, its markets are flooded with smuggled goods. We suspect that many Pakistanis live here illegally," Bhatt alleged.
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