New Delhi: A city court on Saturday acquitted all the 16 accused Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel in the infamous Hashimpura massacre case of 1987 in which 42 Muslims hailing from a village in UP’s Meerut district were allegedly shot dead and their bodies dumped in a canal. “All accused acquitted. I give them benefit of doubt for want of evidence especially regarding their identity,” Additional Sessions Judge Sanjay Jindal said.
The court has referred the case to the Delhi State Legal Services Authority for rehabilitation of victims, who have been properly identified. Those acquitted by the trial court are Suresh C Sharma, Niranjan Lal, Kamal Singh, Budhi Singh, Basant Ballab, Kunwar Pal Singh, Budha Singh, Rambir Singh, Leela Dhar, Hambir Singh, Mokam Singh, Shami Ullaha, Sarwan Kumar, Jaipal Singh, Mahesh Prasad and Ram Dhayan. Except for Mahesh Prasad and Kunwar P Singh, all were present in the court and had been out on bail.
The court had on February 21 fixed the pronouncement of the verdict for March 21 after seeking some clarifications from the counsel for the prosecution, accused and victims. It had earlier reserved the judgment on January 22 after hearing final arguments. According to the prosecution, the PAC personnel had come to the village on May 22, 1987 and picked up about 50 Muslims as a congregation of 500 had gathered outside a mosque there. The victims were shot by the accused personnel and their bodies thrown into a canal, it had said, adding 42 persons were declared to have perished in the massacre. The chargesheet was filed before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ghaziabad, in 1996.