The acquittal of the accused UP PAC personnel in the Hashimpura massacre case of 1987 is shocking and condemnable.
The Hashimpura massacre is shameful evidence of rampant custodial violence compounded by communalization of the State machinery.
The Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) of Congress-ruled Uttar Pradesh had raided Mohalla Hashimpura of Meerut, and abducted Muslim youth in a truck, proceeded to kill 42 of these men in two episodes near Ghaziabad. This was a cold-blooded, mass massacre of men in custody.
The chargesheet in the case was filed only in 1996. In 2002, the Supreme Court ordered the case to be transferred to Delhi from UP, following a petition by the families of the massacre victims and survivors.
The 28-year delay in the trial has contributed in large part to the failure to convict even a single one of the killers. The bias of the police and successive Governments led by Congress, SP, BSP, and BJP also set the stage for the same.
In 1994, when the Samajwadi Party was in power, a departmental enquiry by the CB-CID report of the UP government found the same accused PAC personnel guilty. But the State government failed to act and allowed the accused to enjoy impunity.
The impunity enjoyed by killers in uniform who perpetrate custodial murders, and perpetrators of communal and caste massacres continues, from Delhi 1984 to Hashimpura, to Bathani-Bathe, to Gujarat 2002 to the Sohrabuddin and Ishrat Jahan fake encounters.
The verdict acquitting the killers of Hashimpura, must be challenged in the higher court. AISA extends solidarity with the protracted struggle of the victims’ families for justice.
The chronology of events relating to 1987 Hashimpura Massacre case in which a Delhi court on Saturday acquitted 16 persons, giving them ‘benefit of doubt’:
May 22, 1987: 50 Muslims picked up allegedly by Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel from Hashimpura village in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh.
May, 1987: Victims shot and bodies thrown into canal. 42 persons declared dead.
1996: Charge sheet filed against 19 accused before Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ghaziabad by CB-CID of Uttar Pradesh police. 161 people listed as witnesses.
Sept 2002: Case transferred to Delhi by the Supreme Court on petition by the families of victims and survivors.
Jul 2006: Delhi court frames charges of murder, attempt to murder, tampering with evidence and conspiracy under the IPC against 17 accused.
Jan 22, 2015: Court reserves judgement for February 21.
Feb 21: Court defers verdict as it was not ready.
Mar 21: Court acquits 16 surviving accused giving them benefit of doubt regarding their identity.