“The (Hashimpura massacre) is sketched in the memory as a horror film.”

 

On this day, 33 years ago, the Hashimpura massacre occurred near Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, India. The incident occurred when 19 personnel of the Provincial Armed Constabulary rounded up 42 Muslim men, mostly daily wage laborers, from the Hashimpura moholla and instead of taking them to the police station, led them to the outskirts of the city where they were shot one by one and thrown into the canal. The massacre occurred in the backdrop of the communal riots of Meerut in 1987. The 16 personnel accused of the killings were acquitted in 2016 by Tis Hazari Court due to ‘a lack of evidence’. However, the verdict was overturned by Delhi High Court in 2018, which sentenced the 16 men to life imprisonment.

The Hashimpura massacre reminds one of the Jalianwala Bagh massacre in 1919, where thousands of unarmed men, women and children were shot in a tyrannical British rule while they were exercising their right to protest. Sixty-eight years later, the same tyranny was displayed in independent India, with the only difference being the oppressed and the oppressors. The Hashimpura massacre, which largely remains obscure in history, highlights that communal violence has long remained an ugly reality in the Indian society, long before the Hindutva dreams began materializing.