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Slow motion

01 Jun 2006
20 yrs on, 17 PAC men charged with killing several Muslims in Hashimpura, Meerut

The court of Additional Sessions Judge NP Kaushik framed charges of murder, attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy, abduction, unlawful confinement, assault and unlawful compulsory labour against the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) men charged with killing Muslims during curfew in Meerut on May 22, 1987. The charges have been framed after the process of initiating trial proceedings was repeatedly delayed over the past 19 years.

According to the prosecution, 19 PAC personnel picked up the victims, along with several others, during curfew hours in Hashimpura, kept them confined, and later shot them. The 41 bodies were allegedly dumped in the Upper Ganga canal where they were eventually found floating in Murad Nagar. According to witnesses, two of the 43 men escaped alive.

After the brutal incident came to light, there were calls from several quarters to take immediate action against the accused. An inquiry ordered by the UP government, whose findings were brought out in February 1994, indicted as many as 666 PAC personnel in various misdeeds in Meerut during that period.

Three years later, following the testimony of those who had witnessed the arrests, the Ghaziabad chief judicial magistrate issued bailable warrants against the accused for not appearing in the case. Later, 23 non-bailable warrants were issued between 1997 and 2000. Finally, in May and June 2000, the PAC personnel surrendered and were granted bail.

It was pointed out by citizens’ groups and activists that over this 13-year period the accused personnel were on active duty and received regular transfers and postings.

Although consecutive dates were fixed in September, October and December 2000 by the CJM’s court for framing of charges, this could not be carried out since the prosecution, as per court records, was not prepared.

The CID later requested more time since a special public prosecutor was yet to be appointed in the matter. Of the 19 originally accused, one is absconding and one has died.

In 2002, the Hashimpura Advisory Committee approached the Supreme Court and sought transfer of the case to Delhi since the accused were allegedly "exerting pressure and influence" to stall the proceedings in Ghaziabad.

Based on the Supreme Court’s order, the case was finally transferred to the Tis Hazari courts here (Delhi), where the argument on charges commenced resulting in the framing of charges against the jawans. n

(Courtesy: The Hindu, May 2, 2006.)


In the Court of Sh NP Kaushik,
Additional Sessions Judge, Delhi

State vs Surender Pal Singh etc.

Present case relates the two FIRs bearing Crime No. 110/87 registered at Police Station Link Road, Distt. Ghaziabad and No. 141/87, Police Station Murad Nagar, Distt. Ghaziabad, both under sections 364/302/307/201 IPC. Hon’ble Supreme Court vide orders dated 27.9.2002 transferred these matters from the court of additional district judge IV Ghaziabad to the district and sessions judge, Delhi, in the interest of justice.

2. Facts in brief as put forth by the prosecution are that on 21.5.1987 there was a deadly assault on provincial armed constabulary in Meerut and two rifles of PAC personnel were looted by certain antisocial elements. On the same date, one Sh Prabhat Kumar Kaushik was murdered in Mohalla Suraj Kund adjacent to Mohalla Hashimpura, Meerut. Upon this, a meeting of district administration officers, including police officers, took place. Consequent upon that on 22.5.1987 a search for illegal arms in Mohalla Hashimpura, Meerut, was launched. Curfew was already clamped in the city, Meerut. Mission of arrest and search was carried out by the district police, PAC and the army.  

644 persons from Mohalla Hashimpura were arrested U/s 107/151/116 CrPC. Arrangements were made to send the arrested persons to Police Station Civil Lines and Police Lines, Meerut, with the help of trucks of police, PAC and military. Forty-two persons arrested from Mohalla Hashimpura were put in truck No. URU-1493 belonging to 41st Btln. of PAC. Instead of taking these persons to Police Station Civil Lines, Meerut, they were taken to Upper Ganga canal, Murad Nagar. Truck in question had come from Chowki Pilokheri and PAC jawans were being led by Platoon Commander Surender Pal Singh. PAC jawans (all accused in the present case), after taking the said 42 persons from Mohalla Hashimpura to Upper Ganga canal, Murad Nagar, started firing at them. Some were fired at after making them get down (from) the truck while others were fired at in the truck itself. These jawans, after shooting the persons one by one, kept on throwing them in the Upper Ganga canal with the impression that they were all dead. In the meantime, they noticed a truck whose lights fell on them while they were killing and throwing these persons. Apprehending exposure of the crime, they diverted their truck to Hindon river and completed the process of killing and throwing in Hindon waters the remaining persons rounded up from Mohalla Hashimpura. The PAC truck and jawans left the place with the impression that all persons thrown by them in the waters were dead. From the persons thrown in Hindon river, one Babuddin s/o Khalil survived on whose information FIR No. (Crime No. 110/87) was registered at 12.20 in the night intervening 22/23.5.1987 at Police Station Link Road, Distt. Ghaziabad. From the persons thrown in Upper Ganga canal, Murad Nagar, persons named Mujibur Rehman, Mohd. Usman, Zulfiqar, Naeem, Arif and Qutubuddin survived. On the basis of the statement made by Mujibur Rehman, FIR (Crime No. 141/87) was registered on 23.5.87 in the Police Station Murad Nagar, Distt. Ghaziabad. Injured Qamaruddin died on the way from Police Station Murad Nagar to hospital in Mohan Nagar. One dead body was recovered from Chhaprola Minor, Upper Ganga canal in the jurisdiction of Police Station Dadri, Distt. Ghaziabad on 26.5.87. Twelve bodies were recovered from the waters in the jurisdiction of Police Station Link Road. One body was recovered from the waters in the jurisdiction of Police Station Kalyan Puri, Delhi.

3. Persons who escaped death named Zulfiqar Nasir, Naeem, Arif, Usman, Mujibur Rehman have given a detailed account of the incident. Their statements U/s 161 CrPC stand duly recorded. Besides this, it has also come on record that one of the accused persons named Constable Leela Dhar received injury during shoot-out that was going on in the truck in question. Accused Ct. Leela Dhar was admitted to Medical College, Meerut, for his treatment on 23.5.87. Leela Dhar did not appear before the IO, CBCID for his re-examination. He also did not produce bloodstained clothes to the IO despite directions. In a way, he tried to conceal the incident of receiving injury during the aforesaid episode. Prosecution has placed on record the evidence relating to the treatment of the accused Ct. Leela Dhar.     4. Truck in question was followed by SI VP Singh on receipt of the information when it was coming back from the place of crime. It entered the premises of the office of PAC, 41st Btln., from its gate No. 3. SI concerned was not allowed entry into the boundary of the office of PAC 41st Btln. SSP Ghaziabad named Sh BN Rai, along with police officials, reached the office of 41st Btln. where they saw red-coloured water trickling down the truck in question. Police officials were directed to take into possession the red-coloured water from the truck. Sh VP Singh did not take into possession the red-coloured water from the truck and his misconduct/ negligence was enquired into departmentally. A large number of manipulations in the roznamchas have also come on record showing that the PAC attempted to conceal the crime. Log register showing the movement of the truck points towards the factum that the truck went from Mohalla Hashimpura, Meerut, to Upper Ganga canal, Murad Nagar and Hindon river, as is clear from the distance run by it. Prosecution has also placed on record the photographs taken from Mohalla Hashimpura, Meerut, showing the persons of a particular community raising both their hands in a token of surrender. The truck in question is also seen in the photographs. Photographs of the dead bodies are also placed on record. Thirteen dead bodies were identified by their relatives.

5. Ld. counsel for the accused persons, Sh RS Malik, advocate, has relied upon the case of Bhim Singh vs State reported as 48 (1992) Delhi Law Times 402. Hon’ble High Court of Delhi held that charges ought not to be framed mechanically. In the said case it was found that the seized gun was not in a working order. No gunshot or pellet holes were found in the dress of the injured. Coming to the case in hand, the law cited by the ld. defence counsel is not attracted.

6. In the present case, CFSL has opined that because of many characteristics of the tested bullet it could not be ascertained that the bullet was fired from one of the 17 rifles. Simply because one bullet could not be conclusively connected to the rifles for obvious reasons, the case does not fall within the ambit of ‘Discharge’ on this ground alone.

7. Court is not to meticulously judge the truth, veracity and the effect of evidence at this stage. One such case is reported as AIR 1977 Supreme Court 2018. The case of Manjit Kaur vs Delhi Administration reported as (1985) 27 DLT 31 also lays down the same proposition of law.

8. All the accused persons formed an unlawful assembly and used force/violence in firing at the persons collected by them in the truck. A prima facie case U/s 147 and 148 IPC exists against them all. All the accused persons were members of the unlawful assembly. Some of them fired at the persons taken in the truck. Other members of the group of accused clearly knew that their co-accused were likely to fire at the victims. A prima facie case U/s 149 IPC too exists against all of them. All the accused persons as members of an unlawful assembly committed murder of the victims. A prima facie case U/s 302 IPC hence exists against them. Some of the victims survived and reported the matter to the public and the police. Accused persons had the knowledge and intention of causing death of the survivors. A prima facie case U/s 307 IPC too exists against them. As discussed above, accused persons threw the victims in the waters of Upper Ganga canal, Murad Nagar and Hindon river after firing at them. They also took their truck in their office premises and washed the blood in it. They knowingly caused the evidence of the commission of the offence to disappear. A prima facie case U/s 201 IPC also exists against them all. All of them agreed to commit an offence as detailed above. A prima facie case U/s 120B amounting to criminal conspiracy too exists against them.

 In view of the discussion above, a prima facie case under sections 147, 148, 149, 302, 201 and 120B IPC exists against all the accused persons. Let the charges under the aforesaid heads be framed against all the accused persons.        

 

Announced in open court                                      NP Kaushik
18th May, 2006                                       Addl. Sessions Judge, Delhi

Archived from Communalism Combat, June 2006 Year 12    No.116, Special Report 4

Slow motion

20 yrs on, 17 PAC men charged with killing several Muslims in Hashimpura, Meerut

The court of Additional Sessions Judge NP Kaushik framed charges of murder, attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy, abduction, unlawful confinement, assault and unlawful compulsory labour against the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) men charged with killing Muslims during curfew in Meerut on May 22, 1987. The charges have been framed after the process of initiating trial proceedings was repeatedly delayed over the past 19 years.

According to the prosecution, 19 PAC personnel picked up the victims, along with several others, during curfew hours in Hashimpura, kept them confined, and later shot them. The 41 bodies were allegedly dumped in the Upper Ganga canal where they were eventually found floating in Murad Nagar. According to witnesses, two of the 43 men escaped alive.

After the brutal incident came to light, there were calls from several quarters to take immediate action against the accused. An inquiry ordered by the UP government, whose findings were brought out in February 1994, indicted as many as 666 PAC personnel in various misdeeds in Meerut during that period.

Three years later, following the testimony of those who had witnessed the arrests, the Ghaziabad chief judicial magistrate issued bailable warrants against the accused for not appearing in the case. Later, 23 non-bailable warrants were issued between 1997 and 2000. Finally, in May and June 2000, the PAC personnel surrendered and were granted bail.

It was pointed out by citizens’ groups and activists that over this 13-year period the accused personnel were on active duty and received regular transfers and postings.

Although consecutive dates were fixed in September, October and December 2000 by the CJM’s court for framing of charges, this could not be carried out since the prosecution, as per court records, was not prepared.

The CID later requested more time since a special public prosecutor was yet to be appointed in the matter. Of the 19 originally accused, one is absconding and one has died.

In 2002, the Hashimpura Advisory Committee approached the Supreme Court and sought transfer of the case to Delhi since the accused were allegedly "exerting pressure and influence" to stall the proceedings in Ghaziabad.

Based on the Supreme Court’s order, the case was finally transferred to the Tis Hazari courts here (Delhi), where the argument on charges commenced resulting in the framing of charges against the jawans. n

(Courtesy: The Hindu, May 2, 2006.)


In the Court of Sh NP Kaushik,
Additional Sessions Judge, Delhi

State vs Surender Pal Singh etc.

Present case relates the two FIRs bearing Crime No. 110/87 registered at Police Station Link Road, Distt. Ghaziabad and No. 141/87, Police Station Murad Nagar, Distt. Ghaziabad, both under sections 364/302/307/201 IPC. Hon’ble Supreme Court vide orders dated 27.9.2002 transferred these matters from the court of additional district judge IV Ghaziabad to the district and sessions judge, Delhi, in the interest of justice.

2. Facts in brief as put forth by the prosecution are that on 21.5.1987 there was a deadly assault on provincial armed constabulary in Meerut and two rifles of PAC personnel were looted by certain antisocial elements. On the same date, one Sh Prabhat Kumar Kaushik was murdered in Mohalla Suraj Kund adjacent to Mohalla Hashimpura, Meerut. Upon this, a meeting of district administration officers, including police officers, took place. Consequent upon that on 22.5.1987 a search for illegal arms in Mohalla Hashimpura, Meerut, was launched. Curfew was already clamped in the city, Meerut. Mission of arrest and search was carried out by the district police, PAC and the army.  

644 persons from Mohalla Hashimpura were arrested U/s 107/151/116 CrPC. Arrangements were made to send the arrested persons to Police Station Civil Lines and Police Lines, Meerut, with the help of trucks of police, PAC and military. Forty-two persons arrested from Mohalla Hashimpura were put in truck No. URU-1493 belonging to 41st Btln. of PAC. Instead of taking these persons to Police Station Civil Lines, Meerut, they were taken to Upper Ganga canal, Murad Nagar. Truck in question had come from Chowki Pilokheri and PAC jawans were being led by Platoon Commander Surender Pal Singh. PAC jawans (all accused in the present case), after taking the said 42 persons from Mohalla Hashimpura to Upper Ganga canal, Murad Nagar, started firing at them. Some were fired at after making them get down (from) the truck while others were fired at in the truck itself. These jawans, after shooting the persons one by one, kept on throwing them in the Upper Ganga canal with the impression that they were all dead. In the meantime, they noticed a truck whose lights fell on them while they were killing and throwing these persons. Apprehending exposure of the crime, they diverted their truck to Hindon river and completed the process of killing and throwing in Hindon waters the remaining persons rounded up from Mohalla Hashimpura. The PAC truck and jawans left the place with the impression that all persons thrown by them in the waters were dead. From the persons thrown in Hindon river, one Babuddin s/o Khalil survived on whose information FIR No. (Crime No. 110/87) was registered at 12.20 in the night intervening 22/23.5.1987 at Police Station Link Road, Distt. Ghaziabad. From the persons thrown in Upper Ganga canal, Murad Nagar, persons named Mujibur Rehman, Mohd. Usman, Zulfiqar, Naeem, Arif and Qutubuddin survived. On the basis of the statement made by Mujibur Rehman, FIR (Crime No. 141/87) was registered on 23.5.87 in the Police Station Murad Nagar, Distt. Ghaziabad. Injured Qamaruddin died on the way from Police Station Murad Nagar to hospital in Mohan Nagar. One dead body was recovered from Chhaprola Minor, Upper Ganga canal in the jurisdiction of Police Station Dadri, Distt. Ghaziabad on 26.5.87. Twelve bodies were recovered from the waters in the jurisdiction of Police Station Link Road. One body was recovered from the waters in the jurisdiction of Police Station Kalyan Puri, Delhi.

3. Persons who escaped death named Zulfiqar Nasir, Naeem, Arif, Usman, Mujibur Rehman have given a detailed account of the incident. Their statements U/s 161 CrPC stand duly recorded. Besides this, it has also come on record that one of the accused persons named Constable Leela Dhar received injury during shoot-out that was going on in the truck in question. Accused Ct. Leela Dhar was admitted to Medical College, Meerut, for his treatment on 23.5.87. Leela Dhar did not appear before the IO, CBCID for his re-examination. He also did not produce bloodstained clothes to the IO despite directions. In a way, he tried to conceal the incident of receiving injury during the aforesaid episode. Prosecution has placed on record the evidence relating to the treatment of the accused Ct. Leela Dhar.     4. Truck in question was followed by SI VP Singh on receipt of the information when it was coming back from the place of crime. It entered the premises of the office of PAC, 41st Btln., from its gate No. 3. SI concerned was not allowed entry into the boundary of the office of PAC 41st Btln. SSP Ghaziabad named Sh BN Rai, along with police officials, reached the office of 41st Btln. where they saw red-coloured water trickling down the truck in question. Police officials were directed to take into possession the red-coloured water from the truck. Sh VP Singh did not take into possession the red-coloured water from the truck and his misconduct/ negligence was enquired into departmentally. A large number of manipulations in the roznamchas have also come on record showing that the PAC attempted to conceal the crime. Log register showing the movement of the truck points towards the factum that the truck went from Mohalla Hashimpura, Meerut, to Upper Ganga canal, Murad Nagar and Hindon river, as is clear from the distance run by it. Prosecution has also placed on record the photographs taken from Mohalla Hashimpura, Meerut, showing the persons of a particular community raising both their hands in a token of surrender. The truck in question is also seen in the photographs. Photographs of the dead bodies are also placed on record. Thirteen dead bodies were identified by their relatives.

5. Ld. counsel for the accused persons, Sh RS Malik, advocate, has relied upon the case of Bhim Singh vs State reported as 48 (1992) Delhi Law Times 402. Hon’ble High Court of Delhi held that charges ought not to be framed mechanically. In the said case it was found that the seized gun was not in a working order. No gunshot or pellet holes were found in the dress of the injured. Coming to the case in hand, the law cited by the ld. defence counsel is not attracted.

6. In the present case, CFSL has opined that because of many characteristics of the tested bullet it could not be ascertained that the bullet was fired from one of the 17 rifles. Simply because one bullet could not be conclusively connected to the rifles for obvious reasons, the case does not fall within the ambit of ‘Discharge’ on this ground alone.

7. Court is not to meticulously judge the truth, veracity and the effect of evidence at this stage. One such case is reported as AIR 1977 Supreme Court 2018. The case of Manjit Kaur vs Delhi Administration reported as (1985) 27 DLT 31 also lays down the same proposition of law.

8. All the accused persons formed an unlawful assembly and used force/violence in firing at the persons collected by them in the truck. A prima facie case U/s 147 and 148 IPC exists against them all. All the accused persons were members of the unlawful assembly. Some of them fired at the persons taken in the truck. Other members of the group of accused clearly knew that their co-accused were likely to fire at the victims. A prima facie case U/s 149 IPC too exists against all of them. All the accused persons as members of an unlawful assembly committed murder of the victims. A prima facie case U/s 302 IPC hence exists against them. Some of the victims survived and reported the matter to the public and the police. Accused persons had the knowledge and intention of causing death of the survivors. A prima facie case U/s 307 IPC too exists against them. As discussed above, accused persons threw the victims in the waters of Upper Ganga canal, Murad Nagar and Hindon river after firing at them. They also took their truck in their office premises and washed the blood in it. They knowingly caused the evidence of the commission of the offence to disappear. A prima facie case U/s 201 IPC also exists against them all. All of them agreed to commit an offence as detailed above. A prima facie case U/s 120B amounting to criminal conspiracy too exists against them.

 In view of the discussion above, a prima facie case under sections 147, 148, 149, 302, 201 and 120B IPC exists against all the accused persons. Let the charges under the aforesaid heads be framed against all the accused persons.        

 

Announced in open court                                      NP Kaushik
18th May, 2006                                       Addl. Sessions Judge, Delhi

Archived from Communalism Combat, June 2006 Year 12    No.116, Special Report 4

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