With the ruling Samajwadi Party maintaining silence on the Hashimpura verdict, the survivors and families of the victims of the 1987 massacre in Meerut, are now seeking an audience with Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, with a hope that the state government takes up their case in the High Court as the 27-year-old legal battle in lower court has drained them “financially and mentally.”
Akhilesh will be visiting Meerut on April 4 to lay the foundation stone of Mulayam Singh Medical College on Hapur road, as per Meerut’s District Magistrate Pankaj Yadav. “We have not been informed of any plans of CM to visit Hashimpura,” the DM said.
The survivors are hoping to hand over their memorandum to the CM at the foundation stone laying programme.
Additional Sessions Judge Sanjay Jindal at Delhi’s Tees Hazari court, had on March 21 acquitted 16 Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel of charges related to the killing of 42 Muslims, who were picked up from Hashimpura, giving them benefit of doubt for want of evidence.
“We just hope that the state government files an appeal in the High Court against the verdict,” said Zulfiqar Nasir, one of the five persons from among about 50 who were rounded up by the PAC but survived the massacre of May 22, 1987.
The victims’ demands include making public the Gyan Prakash Inquiry report, which was commissioned to look into the massacre, as well as financial assistance to the families. Vrinda Grover, lawyer for the victims, said that only the kin of the 42 deceased youths were given a compensation of Rs 4.60 lakh each. “It was not just the families of the deceased who suffered. Those who were taken to jail were also brutally beaten up. Five survivors escaped narrowly but they have also not been provided any compensation,” she claimed.
Riyazuddin, whose eldest brother Qamaruddin was killed in the massacre, said they are also seeking support to fund the education of their children and government jobs for the victims of the mohalla.
Naseem Bano, whose son Siraj Ahmed, 23, was about to be married off before he was killed, said, “The case has drained us and has affected our livelihood.”
“It will be appropriate if the CM visits the victims, rather than the victims queuing up to seek an audience with him,” Grover said, adding that apart from filing an appeal, the state government should “set up a judicial inquiry, preferably under a retired Supreme Court judge” to delve deeper into the case.
Samajwadi Party spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary, meanwhile, confirmed that the CM has no plans to visit Hashimpura.
Although the political parties are usually quick to jump on such issues to gain traction, the victims unanimously pointed out their absence over the course of last 28 years. “This (massacre) was undertaken by men in uniform…nobody wants to go after the police,” said Grover.