Skip to main content

Hashimpura masscre acquittal result of "deliberate, shoddy" investigation

By Our Representative
The largest incident of custodial killing which took place in Hashimpura (UP) in 1987, in which officers of the notorious Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) shot dead 42 persons from the Muslim community and sought to destroy the evidence, has resulted in the acquittal of all the 16 accused because of "the deliberately lackadaisical and shoddy investigation", alleges Vibhuti Narain Rai, retired officer of the Indian Police Force (IPS) in a video interview.
"Worse still, successive governments since 1987, over 20 years, belonging to different political parties, were never interested in punishing the guilty", Rai has contended.
“The sight that met my eyes the night of May 22, 1987 is something forever embedded in my psyche,” says Rai, adding, “Language is a very poor substitute for thought. Bodies lying half dead, fully dead, on the banks, flowing in the canal... Every step I took I was scared I would step on someone’s head or limb. One lone survivor, Babuddin, recounted the horror to us in an eye-witness account.”
Based on the incident, Rai's research work, "Communal Bias in the Police Machinery", was first published in in the journal "Communalism Combat" (February 1995) saw an interesting twist. The government, which first allowed him to carry out the research while in service, disowned the work. Now, he is the process of coming up with a new book on the subject, which would be "a repayment of a debt that has weighed heavily" on his conscience since the dark night of May 22, 1987, he says.
"He is the first officer to have squarely confronted the existence of this communal bias. His book 'Shahr Mein Curfew' (1988), where he recounts his experiences of heading the police in Allahabad, also became quite popular", Teesta Setalvad, prominent human rights activist and editor of "Communalism Combat", which conducted the interview, says. "We discussed the Hashimpura massacre with the policeman who filed the first FIR in the case."
During the interview, he says, "Given that 42 people did not just fall down and die, how can this judgment be explained?", recounting what he saw on the night of May 22, 1987 and the prevailing communal bias in police services. He explains how he believes that CID failed to adequately investigate and prosecute the matter.
"From the start, the crime investigation department (CID) ensured that the masterminds were not investigated and punished", says Rai. "The decision to abduct and kill in cold blood 42 young Muslims has had to have been taken at the highest level and yet no attempt was ever made to investigate who gave the instructions for this horrific custodial killing."
Rai says, he not only recorded his statement before the CID but also deposed before the court. He believes, "Massacres of this kind are a huge challenge before the Indian state and we have simply not faced up to the challenge."
"A 28 year battle for justice has ended at least for now, in abject failure, with a UP sessions court acquitting all the 16 accused in the infamous Hashimpura massacre case", he says, adding, "Despite first-hand accounts from survivors of the incident, the sessions court held that the prosecution has failed to establish its its case beyond reasonable doubt, leading to serious questions about the investigating authorities competence and will to deal effectively with the case."
"The judgment raises critical and serious questions about the efficacy of our state institutions in dealing with cases involving minorities", he says. However, according to him, "This ghastly massacre has never been acknowledged or treated as such by the state apparatus be it the National Police Academy, Hyderabad or State Police Academies."
Suggesting steps to improve the police, he says, "Representation of different sections of Indians, minorities, Dalits, Adivasis and women within the law and order machinery, is a policy measure that needs to be implemented to ensure a force that reflects India’s diversity."

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Gujarat model? Industrial effluents "invade" borewells, discharge coloured water in farms

By Rajiv Shah
In a major embarrassment for Gujarat model, of the 21 samples taken by officials of the state government's environmental watchdog Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) in two villages of Vadodara district and analyzed by its laboratory in Gandhinagar, the state capital, to find out pollution level in groundwater, 16 were assessed as highly contaminated – these were, in fact, found to be discharging reddish, brownish, reddish, or yellowish water.

Refugees as criminals? US govt report blames Amit Shah for calling Bangladeshis termites

Counterview Desk
The chapter “Freedom of Movement” of the US State Department’s “India 2018 Human Rights Report”, released recently, has criticized BJP chief Amit Shah for terming alleged Bangladeshis who may be in Assam as “termites”, because their names were struck down from the list of National Register of Citizens, under preparation in the state.
Pointing out that four million residents were excluded from Assam’s final draft list, leading to “uncertainty over the status of these individuals, many of whose families had lived in the state for several generations”, the report regrets, the Indian law does not even contain the term “refugee,” treating refugees like Rohingiyas as “any other foreigners.”
“Undocumented physical presence in the country is a criminal offense. Persons without documentation were vulnerable to forced returns and abuse”, the report says.
Text of the Freedom of Movement chapter: The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, a…

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.