Overturning a trial court’s verdict, the Delhi High Court Wednesday convicted 16 former Provincial Armed Constabulary personnel and sentenced them to life imprisonment for the mass murder of 38 Muslims in Hashimpura village in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut in 1987. A two-judge bench, comprising Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel, said the incident was a “targeted killing” of unarmed and defenceless people. The trial court had acquitted them in the case in March 2015 after finding that “it has not been proved beyond reasonable doubts” that the accused were PAC officials.
The accused, who are all retired now, were found guilty of murder and kidnapping, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). There were initially 17 accused, but one died during the course of the trial.
The HC, which was hearing appeals filed by Uttar Pradesh, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and private parties including Zulfiqar Nasir, a survivor of the massacre, had reserved its verdict in the case on September 6.