By Md. Ali and Mahtab Alam, TwoCircles.net,
New Delhi: Sometimes, nay most of the times in India, thanks to the slow judicial process, victims have to wait for centuries to get justice. Around a quarter century (24 years) has passed and the victims of Hashimpura massacre are yet to see the murderers of their loved ones, get punished. On 22 May 1987, in Hashimpura, a locality in the Meerut City, 42 innocent Muslims were allegedly killed in cold blood by the personnel of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC).
Trial in the case, which was transferred from Ghaziabad court to Tis Hazari on the orders of the Supreme Court, is yet to conclude. Advocate Akbar Abidi, additional special public prosecutor in this case told TwoCircles.net that the case is in the last stages of presentation of prosecution witnesses. There were around 140 witnesses in the case out of which more than 20 died during last 24 years. Eighty three witnesses have already been produced before the court. Even the accused who are in total 19, got reduced to 16, three died during the course of last 24 years. Next date of the trial in the Hashimpura massacre is May 30th.
Lawyer Vrinda Grover (3rd from R) and activist Sandeep Pandey (2nd from R) during a programme commemorating 20th anniversary of Hashimpura massacre
Recalling his own first hand experiences of the massacre, Vibhuti Narayan Rai, the then Superintendent of Police, Ghaziabad, UP, said, “There are some experiences that stick with you throughout your life. They always stay with you like a nightmare and sometimes are like debts on your shoulders. The experience at Hashimpura Massacre was such an experience for me.””“
Rai, who is also writing a book on the massacre, told that the country might have forgotten one of the most chilling and cold blooded murders but the loved ones of those 42 killed still remember the case and are hopeful that they will get justice. “Let’s not forget it is also the black chapter in the history of UP Police,” he told TCN. He is just back to Wardha from Hashimpura.
The Hashimpura massacre occurred during the communal riots that broke out in Meerut in May 1987. Apparently, the immediate provocation was the Rajiv Gandhi-led Central government's decision to open the Babri Masjid for worship by Hindus. In April several areas of Meerut city were affected by communal violence during the Muslim festival of Shab-e-Barat.
Law and judiciary are dredging on and who knows it can many more years. But the victims have still got hopes to get justice, refusing to believe in the maxim that “Justice delayed, Justice denied”