TDN World Desk: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday convicted 16 police personnel and sentenced them to life term jail for murdering 38 innocent Muslims in Hasimpura locality of Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut in 1987. 

Earlier in 2015, the trial court acquitted the 16 PAC (Provincial Armed Constabulary) personnel in the same case giving benefit of doubt. Three years after The Delhi High Court reversed the order and awarded the 16 former police personnel life term imprisonment. A two-judge bench, comprising Justice S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel said it was a ‘targeted killing’ of ‘unarmed, innocent and defenseless’ persons. 

In Hashimpura massacre case, there were originally 19 police personnel involved but three died in the space of ongoing trial. The Delhi High Court held the 16 ex-cops accused of criminal conspiracy, attempt to murder, kidnapping and tampering with the evidences under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). 

The 73-page judgement detailed the account of the massacre of May 22, 1987 in Hashimpura: ” Around 42 to 45 men old and young, all Muslim, were rounded up by the PAC, packed into a truck and taken away. Each of them was shot by the PAC personnel with .303 rifles in cold blood and bodies dispatched to a watery grave – some in Gang nahar (Ganga Canal) and the remaining in the Hindon river”. 

The massacre took place during communal riot in Meerut which resulted to the death of over 350 people.

BJP Behind this massacre

According to Retired IPS officer Vibhuti Narain Rai, who himself witnessed the riot-hit area and the horrific massacre it resulted then, these lowly ranked cops are not the main culprits for they couldn’t take such crucial step without having received order from the top officials. 

“These lowly ranked cops wouldn’t have taken such a drastic step on their own. There definitely were orders from the top. Besides, riot-hit Hashimpura at that time was under Army’s control,” Times of India quoted Mr Rai as saying. 

The author of ‘Hashimpura 22 May: The Forgotten Story of India’s Biggest Custodial Killing’, Vibhuti Narain Rai was an IPS officer of 1975 batch. He is the man who stood by the victim’s side through all these 31-years despite facing adversities and it is he, who registered the first Information Report (FIR) in Hashipura massacre case. According to him, behind that horrendous mass violence BJP leader could have been involved. “It could be possible that it (the conspiracy to kill) was hatched at the behest of an army officer posted in Meerut and his mother, a city BJP leader,” Mr. Rai told Times of India. 

This senior IPS officer also feels with the pronouncement of the court verdict sentencing the 16 police personnel half the justice is done. He wants the army jawan, top officers and BJP leader to be punished. 

“Why punish poor PAC jawans only when there is involvement of top officers, politicians and also local unit of army, which was controlling law and order on that particular day. They should also face the same fate,” said Rai to the news outlet.