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

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".

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.

India's 80% construction sites "unsafe", deaths 20 times higher than those in Britain

By Rajiv Shah
The Government of India may be seeking to project India’s construction sector as the country’s second-largest employer of the country after agriculture, providing jobs to more than 44 million people, and contributing nearly 9% to the national GDP, yet, ironically, its workforce is more unprotected than any other industrial sector of the country. Data suggest that the possibility of a fatality is five times more likely in the construction industry  than in a manufacturing industry, and the risk of a major injury is 2.5 times higher.

India sans Modi preferable, Congress worthier recipient of Indians’ votes: The Economist

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded and crucial commentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the electoral political battle is on, influential British weekly “The Economist”, has declared that “Indians, who are in the midst of voting in a fresh election, would be better off with a different leader”, even as pointing out that that under Modi, “India’s ruling party poses a threat to democracy.”