A judicial panel probing a train fire that triggered an anti-Muslim massacre in western India has rejected claims by right-wing Hindus that it was deliberately set, and concluded the blaze was an accident.
Authorities initially blamed a Muslim mob for the torching of the train in the town of Godhra in Gujarat state that claimed the lives of 59 Hindus in 2002. The blaze sparked a Hindu backlash in Gujarat in which at least 2,000 people, mainly Muslims, died, according to human rights groups.
Retired Supreme Court judge U.C. Banerjee said his four-member panel has concluded that the fire was an accident after probing all possible causes. He said there was no conspiracy whatsoever, an apparent reference to the charges by Gujarat state's ruling Hindu nationalist party that the Muslim crowd ambushed the train and set it on fire.