A statement by People’s Union for democratic Rights (PUDR),
New Delhi: On 22 May 1987, PAC personnel of UP reached Hashimpura, Meerut, took away about 50 Muslim men from a crowd outside a mosque, shot dead at least 42 of the men, and threw their bodies into a canal. On 21 March 2015, a Delhi Sessions Court accepted that the PAC personnel had committed these murders, but acquitted the policemen charged on account of insufficient evidence. Twenty eight years after the brutal massacre of Muslims by state forces, the guilty in uniform have not been identified and are roaming free.
Nine years after the incident, in 1996, the charge-sheet was filed by the Uttar Pradesh CB-CID. In 2002, families of the victims and survivors petitioned the Supreme Court to transfer the case to Delhi. In 2006 charges were framed by the Delhi Sessions Court against 19 accused. Finally, 9 years later, the court pronounced its judgement, acquitting 16 of them, whilst the 3 remaining had died in the meantime. For relief and rehabilitation, the court has directed the matter to the District Legal Services Authority.
On the basis of the legal labyrinth resulting in the total travesty of justice, PUDR wishes to draw attention to three particular issues:
- Deliberate Delay of 28 years: The history of the case shows that this delay began with the lack of filing of charge-sheet. Unless and until such cases where police themselves are indicted are independently investigated and speedily tried, each and every delay becomes an advantage for the accused as against the victims.
- Violation of Right to Fair Investigation and Trial: In these intervening years, the 16 accused were never arrested or suspended. They remained in the force and some were even promoted. In short, they had the power to interfere and tamper with evidence gathering and intimidate witnesses. The right of the survivors and victims’ to a fair investigation and trial was denied from the beginning. The fact that the accused were let off on grounds of lack of identification only underlines the shoddy investigation and its complicity with the criminal policemen. PAC men were on duty at Hashimpura that fatal day and it therefore becomes the responsibility of the PAC and the government to identify the criminals in its force.
- Denial of Compensation: No compensation has been awarded to anyone. The dead bodies were recovered. Yet, the families of the victims and survivors have been denied compensation in all these 28 years. Besides the deaths, 5 persons were seriously injured including Babuddin, who filed the first FIR that night. Even the injured were never given compensation. And even now the quantum of compensation remains undecided.
PUDR strongly believes that deliberate delay, violation of the right to fair trial and denial of compensation to the families of the victims and survivors of the Hashimpura massacre tantamount to a denial of justice. It sends a message to all citizens that policemen guilty of brutality shall enjoy impunity. We appeal to all people who stand against injustice to decry the present outcome and to demand action against all those responsible for the delay, for the destruction of evidence and shielding of the criminals.
Issued by Megha Bahl and Sharmila Purkayastha, Secretaries, PUDR
For PUDR report on Forgotten Massacre: A Report on Aftermath of Meerut click here.