31 years and counting; Hashimpura massacre victims await justice

31 years and counting; Hashimpura massacre victims await justice
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Hashimpura: 31 year ago, in the month of Ramadan itself, Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) Jawans had killed 42 Muslim youth in Hashimpura area. In 1987 on the night of Shab-e-baraat, Muslims were busy praying, loud music was being played in the nearby non-Muslim locality. Meanwhile, when a dead body was passing by, people asked to stop the music. This led to arguments and the majority community began pelting stones. They burned Muslims’ property. Several Muslim youth were stabbed. This was the worst ever riot and massacre in the history of India. It is likened to Jallianwala Bagh massacre. In both the events, armless innocent people were indiscriminately shot at.

On May 1987 on the occasion of Jummatul Vida PAC, military and local police began searching Muslim houses, they beat male members of the family and gathered them at Sabir Market crossroad. Beards of the elderly were pulled off. Bones of many were broken. Besides, PAC set houses afire.

On the night of 22 May 1987 about 45 Muslim men from Hashimpura, Meerut, were rounded up and packed into the rear of a truck of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC). 42 of those on board the truck were killed in two massacres in neighbouring Ghaziabad district. One along the Upper Ganga canal near Muradnagar, the other along the Hindon canal in Makanpur, on the border with Delhi. 5 of them escaped death including Mujeebur Raman Babu Uddin, Zulfiqar Nasir, Nayeem Quraishi and Osman Ansari. On the basis of their identification, a case was registered against PAC. CID crime branch began enquiry in 1988 which continued for 6 years.

A charge sheet was submitted against 19 youth in Ghaziabad Court in 1996. Meanwhile, the accused were put behind bars for some time and were later released on bail. The trial did not begin for 20 years. On March 21, 2015, the court acquitted all the 21 accused due to missing evidence.

Later the victims filed a petition in Supreme Court. On the direction of the Supreme Court, the case was transferred to Tis Hazari Court in 2002.
The UP government in March this year filed the missing evidence ‘General Diary’ that recorded PAC personnel names and other details pertaining to the Muslim Massacre carried out in UP’s Meerut state in 1987.

The original evidence ‘General Diary’ was submitted in the Sessions Court at Tis Hazari through witness Ranbir Singh Bishnoi (78) who testified that evidence contains names of the accused PAC personnel who carried out the Hashimpura Massacre in 1987.

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) challenging the trial court’s judgment filed a plea before the Delhi High Court stating that the CB-CID had “deliberately suppressed material evidence” pertaining to the accused PAC personnel in the case which contributed towards their acquittal by the sessions court.

The NHRC also sought approval from the Court to allow additional evidences to the duty registers, attendance registers, log books and other relevant documents of the accused PAC personnel, their names, duty rosters, posting under platoon commander Subedar Surendar Pal Singh on May 22, 1987, of the 41st Battalion, C company.

Following which Delhi High Court issued directions to the prosecution to submit additional evidence with respect to the “GD register extracts which are at pages 5,741 to 5,746 of the trial court record”.