20 years after the killings, Moyna visited Hashimpura and wrote a series in The Indian Express. These excerpts show the survivors were losing hope even then
Postcards of pain amid an endless wait
Published Sept 21, 2007 goo.gl/H6UCfj
In an endless wait, even a postcard could mean hope. Residents of Hashimpura are ready with 270 postcards, each signed by a family member of a victim, addressed to Chief Minister Mayawati. “These postcards are an attempt to make the government see our plight and assist us,” says Zulfiqar Nasir, one of the survivors. “Even 20 years later, our families have not got justice and that’s why today we are requesting the government to change the special public prosecutor employed by them in our case,” says the postcard. Says Mohammad Usman, “The present lawyer does not even care enough to talk to any of us… that is why we want him changed.”
(Read also: ‘No one cared for us then, why will they do so now?’)
They played dead and got to live
Published Sept 22, 2007 goo.gl/W0tx6G
Zulfiqar Nasir says, “I thought if I have to survive, I will have to pretend to be dead.” Nasir was then 17. Mohd Usman describes how he escaped by pretending to be dead. “Two or three others like me were alive with bullet wounds…”
Usman recalls how the police agreed to help him on the condition that he was to “never mention that the PAC shot at us… If there is one thing I regret, it is a statement I made to the police 20 years ago absolving the PAC.” He believes that if he had not done so, he would not have survived.
Two elderly men who took up the cause
Published Sept 23, 2007 goo.gl/Mn1Hgl
Retired political science professor Dr Harpal Singh and former councillor Maulvi Yameen, two men in their 70s, have spent the past two decades fighting for justice for the families of the victims, though personally they have nothing at stake. While Singh used his academic contacts to ensure bureaucrats reacted, Yameen pulled political strings to get the case moving. They have formed a legal aid committee to support the case in court. Together, they also arrange for money and resources for residents of Hashimpura to attend court proceedings in Delhi as well as organise press conferences, letters and petitions needed from time to time.