Delhi HC sets aside acquittal of 16 cops for 1987 Hashimpura mass murders, sentences all accused to life term
The armed police team had allegedly rounded up hundreds of Muslim men in Hashimpura, picked out some of them, drove them to nearby water bodies in a truck and shot each of them.
Delhi High Court on Wednesday sentenced 16 officials of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) to life imprisonment for the murder of 42 Muslim men in Hashimpura locality of Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut in 1987 as it set aside the trial court’s judgement acquitting them.
“This was a targeted killing by the armed forces. Members of the minority community were killed and their families had to wait 31 years for justice,” the court said.
Nineteen PAC personnel were accused in the incident, out of which three died during the course of the trial and the rest 16 were acquitted by the Tis Hazari sessions court. Their acquittal was challenged in Delhi High court by the state of UP.
The armed police team allegedly rounded up hundreds of Muslim men in Hashimpura, picked out some of them, drove them to nearby water bodies in a truck and shot each of them. According to the prosecution, the PAC personnel threw their bodies in the canal, which surfaced after two days.
The force had been attacked a day before, during Hindu-Muslim riots, and apparently wanted to teach the community a lesson, activists say.
Historians and experts later described the killings as among India’s worst incidents of custodial violence. The trial began only in 1996, and in 2015 all accused were cleared of all charges by a trial court in what activists have called a grave miscarriage of justice.