Janhastakshep: A campaign against Fascist Designsd
A public meeting
STATE AND COMMUNALISM: Travesty of Justice in Hashimpura massacre, 1987
Venue: GANDHI PEACE FOUNDATION, Deen Dayal Marg (Near ITO)
Date: 9th April 2015
Time: 5.30 PM
· Justice (Retd.) Rajinder achchar, member of the PUCL fact-finding team into the genocide.
· Rebeca John, Lawyer representing the ccase.
· Saeed Naqvi, senior journalist
Playing communal card and communal killings for electoral gains are not the monopoly of communal organizations only but even so-called secular parties also play communal cards leading to the increasing trend of communalization of the state apparatuses including judiciary. Most glaring example of connivance of state and its judicial apparatus is the judgment in the Hashimpura massacre in 1987 in which 42 men were cold-bloodedly killed by the UP PAC and 5 managed to survive by pretending to be dead to narrate the ordeal. After 28 years of the proceedings, the court acquitted all the accused of one of the most gruesome state organized massacres. No one killed them. In 1987 the then Rajiv Gandhi government, having come to power with unprecedented parliamentary majority after the anti-Sikh pogrom of Delhi in 1984, opened the lock of the now no-more Babari Masjid at Ayodhya, to counter the ongoing Mandir campaign of BJP under the leadership of L K Adwani. The decision to open the lock was protested at many places by different sections of the society. Muslims, being the community directly aggrieved, came out in large numbers to protest this communal move by the Congress governments at Centre as well as in UP. As has been the experience over the years, whenever the Muslims come out in large numbers to protest it is termed as riot. The then state Home Minister, P Chidambaram has been reported to have instructed the state government to 'crush the Muslims.' Following the tip the 41 battalion of the communally trained PAC (Provincial Armed Constabulary of UP), in the night of 22-23 May 1987, raided the Hashimpura village in the name of a search operation. Many Muslim men were arbitrarily picked up quefrom outside the mosque and huddled in a truck. They were taken to a lonely spot on the bank of Ganga canal and many of them shot dead with the service rifles by the uniformed policemen and their bodies thrown into the canal. Rest was taken to the banks of the Hinden River, shot and their bodies were left there.
The entire incident would have simply been buried without any consequences to the perpetrators but for a timely report filed by Vibhuti Narayan Rai, the then SP of Gaziabad and later supported by the testimonies of 5 survivors of the massacre.
After 28 years of legal proceedings in the case, the court set aside the testimonies of the survivors to acquit the culprit policemen giving them the benefit of doubt. Apparently, no one killed the victims.
This judgment conforms to the emerging pattern in which the courts in different parts of the country have acquitted the perpetrators of heinous crimes may they be against the dalits or the minorities. The acquittal of Ranvir Sena killers in the Laxampur Bathe and Bathani Tola massacres in Bihar for similar reasons are other cases in point.
However, there is a pattern in the madness. Such crimes cannot but be committed with active connivance or direct participation of the state machinery. In any such instance the government and the police ensure that every shred of evidence is destroyed to save the culprits. It ought to be ensured in the interest of justice that the suspected government agencies are kept out of investigation in such cases.
What is particularly noteworthy is that the ruling class parties have done little more than pay lip service to the cause of the victims in such instances of gross miscarriage of justice. Mere statements of protest and symbolism have come to replace the need for a sustained campaign towards the ends of justice.
Janhastakshep seeks a broader discussion on the issue of communalization of .the security forces and the judiciary. Please joins us in the discourse.