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Mainstream, VOL LIII, No 16, April 11, 2015

Acquitted for Lack of Evidence

Sunday 12 April 2015, by Humra Quraishi


For those survivors who had been witness to the May 1987 massacre at Meerut’s Hashim-pura locality—where 42 innocent Muslim men were picked up from near a mosque and shot dead in cold blood by the Uttar Pradesh PAC cops—these 28 years have been more than painful. Pain and disgust and anger compounding with last week’s news-reports that the 16 accused cops of killing of those young Muslim men have been acquitted by a Delhi court. Yes, acquitted for lack of evidence!

Another incident of mass murders by the State force getting brushed aside. Maybe, it will lie tucked in the pages of a survivor’s diary ...jottings or what. Maybe those pages destroyed by the same forces that killed these young men. After all, political rulers can go to any extent and get away. Yes, even with mass murders of innocents!

Though by now a couple of books on the Hashimpura massacre should or could have been published but we seem to have stopped reacting to State unleashed terror.

 Besides the basics to this case, activist lawyer N.D. Pancholi details that Nandita Haksar had filed a petition in the Supreme Court in 1987 on behalf of the People’s Union For Democratic Rights (PUDR) praying for investigation of the case and payment of adequate compensation to the victims. She had argued the case in person and the Supreme Court was constrained to award an amount, though nominal, that is, Rs 20,000/-per victim. She had also made a mention of this case in her book Framing Gilani, Hanging Afzal — Patriotism in the Time of Terror (2007).

I quote—

“And no one has apologised to the people of Meerut’s Hashimpura in May 1987. It was Syed Shahabuddin Sahib who had requested me to go to Meerut and intervene. He told me about the 33 men who were picked up by the PAC and taken to Murad Nagar and shot one by one near Ganga Nehar. I filed the writ as a petitioner in person (on behalf of PUDR) before the Supreme Court. The judge tried hard to persuade me to withdraw the petition and suggested I move in Allahabad. I refused. That judge later became the first Chairman of India’s Human Rights Commission. No one has been punished for those murders so far. It is not even on the agenda of any political party.”

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