It has been 30 years since the night of 22 May, 1987 when about 45 Muslim men from Hashimpura, a settlement in Meerut, were rounded up and packed into the rear of a truck of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC).
On that night of May 1987, 42 of those on board the truck were killed in two massacres in neighbouring Ghaziabad district. One along the Upper Ganga canal near Muradnagar, a The other along the Hindon canal in Makanpur, on the border with Delhi — in what have since come to be known as the Hashimpura killings.
Thirty years after the 1987 massacre in Hashimpura not much has changed for the survivors and the relatives of the people killed. The wounds are still fresh, the quest for justice is still an ongoing ordeal and they no more trust men in khakis.
Hashimpura remains devoid of basic municipal amenities, the erring silence on the narrow lanes of the locality amid the activities of a daily life speaks of the horror of the fateful day in 1987.
Every house has a story to narrate and every individual is some or the other way a victim of the massacre, the women lost their husbands and children, the children lost their fathers and fathers lost their kids. Hashimpura massacre was the result of one among the many outcomes of the decision taken by the then Congress government of Rajiv Gandhi to open the locks of Babri Masjid. After a month of rioting, the situation was tense in various parts of Meerut, and a lot spilled over in the nearby areas.
In Meerut, the Army and paramilitary had been called in. A company of the 41st battalion of the PAC, which has its battalion headquarters in Ghaziabad, had also been sent to Meerut. The Army had forced all the residents of Hashimpura out of their homes onto the road, and searched their homes. That night, the PAC truck with the Hashimpura residents had first stopped along the Upper Ganga canal near Muradnagar and allegedly killed some of the villagers. They stopped only when a milk van drove that way.