Finally, justice has been delivered in the cold-blooded Hashimpura Massacre. The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sentenced 16 ex-policemen to life imprisonment for killing 42 young men from the Muslim community in the 1987 Hashimpura massacre incident in Uttar Pradesh. A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel reversed the trial court’s verdict which had acquitted the accused.
The high court convicted 16 former Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel for murder and of kidnapping, criminal conspiracy, and destruction of evidence under the Indian Penal Code. It termed the massacre “targeted killing” of unarmed and defenceless people by the police. All the 16 convicts have retired from service. The Court also directed the Uttar Pradesh Government to put the report of Crime Branch- CID Wing’s findings dated May 22, 1987, about the incident in public domain, based on BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s petition to bring out the real culprits behind the massacre of innocent Muslim youth. Swamy on many occasions alleged that this massacre was ordered by P Chidambaram, the then Minister of State in charge of Internal Security.
“However, this will not preclude the concerned investigating agency from further pursuing the matter in accordance with law. It will be open for the petitioner (Swamy) too, if he has any further material, to share it with such agency to facilitate the exercise,” the court asked. The plea for further SIT probe was sought by Swamy in his appeal challenging the dismissal of his earlier petition in the trial court for a probe in the case. He had contended in his plea, filed through advocate Ramni Taneja, that further investigation was required as the CB-CID report had indicted 66 personnel of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC).
While sentencing all the convicts to life imprisonment, the court said the families of the victims had to wait 31 years to get justice and monetary relief cannot compensate their loss. The High Court directed the convicts to surrender on or before November 22.
What is the Hashimpura Massacre?
Those days in 1987, in many areas of Uttar Pradesh communal tension was at the peak, after the opening of doors of Ram Mandir inside the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. The following is the chronology of events relating to 1987 Hashimpura Massacre case leading up to the Delhi High Court on Wednesday sentencing 16 ex-policemen to life imprisonment for killing 42 people of a minority community in Uttar Pradesh. Bother Centre and UP was ruled by Congress. Few hours before the incident, the MoS Home Chidambaram visited Hashimpura and held high-level meet of police top brass.
May 22, 1987: The Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel reached Muslim populated Hashimpura village in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. They asked all to come out the home. From the people, the police asked women, children and old men to go back to home and picks up 45 young Muslim men. They were taken to a nearby canal and shot one by one point blank and bodies were thrown into a canal. 42 persons declared dead. Three young men escaped pretending as dead and later became a witness in the case.
August 1987: The issue was raked up by the then Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy in Parliament. He went on fast unto death for seven days at Boat Club, Delhi forcing Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to agree for a probe on the matter. Rajiv Gandhi sent Home Minister Buta Singh to Boat Club to give assurance to Swamy.
November 1987: UP Government directs CB-CID to probe into massacre of 42 men.
February 1994: CB-CID submits inquiry report indicting over 60 PAC and police personnel of all ranks.
May 20, 1996: Charge sheet filed against 19 accused before Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ghaziabad by CB-CID of Uttar Pradesh police. 161 people listed as witnesses.
September 2002: Case transferred to Delhi by the Supreme Court on a petition by the families of victims and survivors. There were allegations that entire police force was doing all attempts to save their colleagues from the state-sponsored massacre in Hashimpura.
July 2006: Delhi court frames charges of murder, attempt to murder, tampering with evidence and conspiracy under the IPC against 17 accused.
March 8, 2013: Trial court dismisses Subramanian Swamy’s plea seeking probe into the alleged role of P Chidambaram, then Minister of State for Home, in the matter.
March 21, 2015: Trial court acquits 16 surviving accused giving them benefit of doubt regarding their identity.
May 18, 2015: Trial court decision challenged in the Delhi HC by the victims’ families and eyewitnesses who survived the incident.
December 2015: National Human Rights Commission is impleaded in the matter. NHRC also seeks further probe in to the massacre.
February 17, 2016: HC tags Subramanian Swamy’s appeal with the other petitions in the matter.
September 6, 2018: Delhi HC reserves verdict in the case.
October 31, 2018: Delhi HC convicts 16 former PAC personnel for life after finding them guilty of murder of 42 people.
Conversation with Dr. Swamy MP on the Hashimpura massacre. To know the impact of today’s verdict in the Delhi HC, watch this video below: