A day after a Delhi court acquitted 16 men from UP Police’s Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) in the 1987 Hashimpura massacre, in which 40 Muslims were killed during a search operation, it appears 10 of them are still employed with the state police.
Head Constable Niranjan Lal told The Indian Express that all of the accused were reinstated into service within a few weeks of their release on bail, after they had surrendered in court in 2000.
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Three of the 19 originally accused had died during the trial and six others had retired or resigned from service —- all were from the 41st battalion of the PAC based in Ghaziabad. Head Constable Lal said he was still with the battalion.
According to official sources, some of the 19 were later shifted from the PAC and are currently posted in different districts. “The only punishment they faced was suspension for a while and not being considered for promotions on the grounds that they were facing a court trial in the case,” the sources added.
When contacted, IPS officer (retired) V S Mathur, who was the UP DGP when the chargesheet was filed in the case in 1996, said, “The filing of a chargesheet against them does not mean that they should have been dismissed from service. This is not any criterion. I could not recollect the exact details at present, but I remember all of them were suspended for a while.”
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After the 19 were suspended after UP’s CB-CID, which investigated the case, sent a report to the state government seeking sanction for prosecution in 1996. Following the chargesheet, they were also briefly sent to jail by a Ghaziabad court.
The 10 who are still employed with UP Police are: Niranjan Lal, Mohkam Singh, and Samiullah (PAC); and Kunwar Pal Singh, Budha Singh, Rambir Singh, Hambir Singh, Shrawan Kumar, Jaipal Singh and Mahesh Prasad.
Constable Vasant Vallabh, one of the accused who later resigned from service in 1991, said, “I opted to resign following regular harassment from the people who labelled me as a killer.” Fifty-year-old Vallabh, who belongs to Uttarakhand, is currently working for a private firm in Noida.