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.

India Today - - INSIDE - Mo­ham­mad Waqas By

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

Zul­fiqar Nasir

40 Nasir runs his fa­ther’s com­pany, which makes tube­well parts.

Zai­bun Nisa

47 Her hus­band Iqbal, who used to work in Jum­man­pura, was shot in the head. His body was later fished out of the Hin­don

river.

“Af­ter five years of mar­ried life, it has been a long 25 years of dreary ex­is­tence as a widow.”

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