At 12:20 am on May 22, 1987, Babuddin, having escaped from the Hindol canal, registered FIR No. 110/87 at Link Road police station, Meerut. Two hours later, three wounded men were picked up from the Upper Ganga canal by a police jeep, and Murad Nagar police station registered FIR No. 141/87. One of the survivors, Qamruddin, died on the way. Mohd Usman and Mujibur Rehman were admitted to hospitals.
(Also read: They played dead and got to live)
Two days later, the then home secretary (admin) ordered a crime branch probe based on the two FIRs.
‘Attempt to kill PAC’
In the probe report submitted six years later, the CID indicted 66 Provincial Armed Constabulary personnel. Later, the CID would recommend that only 19 of them be tried, while its chargesheet would put an objective to the PAC action — a preventive against riots.
(Read also: ‘No one cared for us then, why will they do so now?’)
In 1996, when the first chargesheet was filed, the state ordered prosecution of the 19 personnel based on the CID recommendation. “From the evidence it is clear that communal riots broke out in May 1987… A search was conducted in Hashimpura and other areas. Hashimpura is mainly a Muslim-populated area. On 21.5.87, some elements made a murderous attempt to kill PAC. The bad elements looted rifles from PAC… they killed Kumar Kaushik in the adjacent mohalla. In order to stop and control the riots, the decision of [conducting] search, arresting [antisocial] elements was taken by the district administration.” The chargesheet said the crime branch probe had shown that “this fact came into light that bullets were fired on the arrested persons while they were being taken into the truck from Hashimpura.”
Army only ‘associate’ of police
On the Army, the chargesheet said, “The only responsibility of the Indian Army was to encircle mohalla Hashimpura. It means that Indian Army was working as a associate of the civil police. It was only helping the police.”
The chargesheet added that “some of the officials were knowingly concealing facts,” and “a polygraph test of the then magistrate, DSP, platoon commander and driver were conducted”. It added the test found that the platoon commander, the driver and the DSP “were telling lies on some points in respect of questions asked of them”.
Court kept waiting
From 1997 to 2000, not one accused appeared in Ghaziabad court. Six bail able and 17 non-bailable warrants were issued against the 19 PAC accused, who were in service. In May 2000, 16 of them surrendered.
In September 2002, the case was transferred to Delhi on a petition filed by victims’ families. For another four years, the UP government failed to appoint a prosecutor. In March 2004, the government appointed A S Kulshreshta but the victims challenged this, and Surendra Adlakha was then appointed.
In July 2006, the court fined the state Rs 5,000 after Adlakha failed to appear. It was in August 2006 that the court recorded the testimony of the first prosecution witness, Zulfiqar Nasir.