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Updated: Jun 2, 2023

On the night of May 22, 1987, state-sponsored violence erupted at Hashimpura, a village near Meerut, when the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) forcibly loaded 45 Muslim men into a truck. Two assassinations known as the Hashimpura killings occurred that tragic night in the neighboring Ghaziabad district, claiming at least 42 lives. Meerut was gripped by tension during those turbulent days.

The decision by the Rajiv Gandhi government to unlock the Babri Masjid unleashed a surge of anti-Muslim riots and bloodshed throughout the area. Meerut witnessed widespread sectarian rioting, with homes, factories, stores, and cars set on fire. As the situation worsened, the Army and paramilitary troops were called in to help restore order. The PAC's 41st battalion, based in Ghaziabad, was also sent to Meerut.

In Hashimpura, a predominantly Muslim neighborhood, fear loomed large. The Army ordered the residents out of their homes, subjecting them to searches and interrogations. Around 500 men were arbitrarily arrested and hauled away in police trucks. That ill-fated night, the PAC truck carrying Hashimpura’s residents made its first stop along the Upper Ganga canal near Muradnagar, where some villagers were allegedly killed. The vehicle only halted when a milk van appeared, temporarily interrupting the unfolding violence. The jawans then rerouted the truck to Makanpur, next to the Hindon canal, where they cruelly unleashed yet another wave of carnage. The exact death toll is unknown since some bodies were disposed of in the canal and were never found. Nonetheless, it is estimated that at least 42 Muslims were killed in this heinous incident.

However, in 2015, A Delhi court acquitted all 16 accused Provincial Armed Constabulary soldiers in the 1987 Hashimpura massacre case of charges relating to the killing of 42 Muslims who were picked up from a village in UP's Meerut, with the judge giving them the benefit of the doubt. The case was sent to the Delhi State Legal Services Authority for the rehabilitation of victims who have been properly identified by the court. The 16 acquitted suspects were all members of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) at the time of the incident.

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