Endless Wait for Killer State
It has been 25 years since 50 men from Meerut’s Hashimpura were picked up and shot in cold blood. But the alleged killers in uniform still roam free.
It has been 25 years since 50 men from Meerut’s Hashimpura were picked up and shot in cold blood. But the alleged killers in uniform are still roaming free.
In Muslim pockets of Meerut, when someone wants to know how many years have elapsed since the Hashimpura massacre, the answer is usually the same: “It is as old as Zaibun Nisa’s daughter.” Zaibun, 47, lives in Hashimpura mohalla with her mother and her three daughters. With her old mother on a charpoy, Zaibun recalls, “It was an Alwida Juma ( the last Friday of Ramadan, the month of fasting). My third daughter, Uzma, was born that day. Uzma’s abba ( father) gave her a fond look before leaving for prayers. He never returned.” It was 1987. The mood was tense and the environment vitiated in the backdrop of the Ram JanmabhoomiBabri Masjid row. On May 19, a riot erupted in Meerut, to control which the army, Central Reserve Police Force and Provincial Armed Constabulary ( PAC) were called in, besides the Uttar Pradesh Police. On May 22, soon after the Friday prayers, the army combed Hashimpura and other Muslim localities in the city. It arrested 644 people, of which 150 were from Hashimpura, and handed them over to PAC. At least 50 youngsters from Hashimpura were herded into a PAC truck ( URU 1493) and taken away to an unknown destination. Zaibun’s husband, Iqbal, was one of them. Nineteen armed PAC men had stood guard over them. Except for five youngsters, it turned out to be their last Alwida Juma. The PAC men killed them and threw their bodies into the Upper Ganga Canal at Muradnagar near Delhi and some in the Hindon river in Ghaziabad. Iqbal, who used to work at a lathe machine in Jummanpura, was shot in the head. His body was later fished out of the Hindon.
Besides these, eight people were beaten to death in police custody. They were: Zahir Ahmad, Moinuddin, Salim aka Sallu, Minu, Mohammad Usman, Jamil Ahmad, Din Mohammad and Master Hanif.
After Independence, this is the largest number of custodial deaths in
40 Nasir runs his father’s company, which makes tubewell parts.
47 Her husband Iqbal, who used to work in Jummanpura, was shot in the head. His body was later fished out of the Hindon
“After five years of married life, it has been a long 25 years of dreary existence as a widow.”