New Delhi, October 31: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday overturned the acquittal of 16 personnel of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) who were charged of massacring 42 members of the minority community in Hashimpura locality of Meerut, over three decades ago.
In 2015, the lower court had acquitted all the accused citing lack of evidence. The matter was taken up for hearing by the Delhi High Court after the then state government challenged the acquittal. Asaduddin Owaisi Fumes as Yogi Adityanath Dissents Ayodhya Case Deferment by Supreme Court.
"This was a targeted killing by the armed forces. Members of the minority community were killed and their families had to wait 31 years for justice,” the High Court bench said, while pronouncing life-term for the 16 convicted cops.
A total of 19 security personnel were chargesheeted for the massacre in 1996 -- when the probe was taken up. Three died during the course of hearing, whereas, 16 others were acquitted by the Tis Hazari court in 2015.
The lower court's order was contested, condemned and challenged by the kin of deceased, along with an array of activists.
Those critical of the erstwhile order had also pinned the blame on prosecution, accusing them of presenting a thin case before the bench.
The massacre, claim activists, was a result of "blatant communalism". A day before the 42 Muslim men were picked up from their homes and assassinated, some miscreants from the community had attacked the PAC team stationed in Hashimpura to quell the communal riots.
"The forces wanted to teach the community a lesson. So they picked up 42 men in the early hours of the day and killed them in cold-blood. The bodies were dumped into a canal and recovered two days later," said a Muslim lawyer who has been aiding the victims' kin over the last decade.