In a major boost to combating communal riots, Delhi High Court today convicted 16 Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel and sentenced them to life imprisonment for the 1987 massacre of 42 Muslims in Hashimpura village in Meerut district in Uttar Pradesh.
A two-Judge bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel reversed a trial court’s verdict which had acquitted the accused.
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All the 16 convicts have retired from service.
The Delhi High Court’s verdict came on pleas challenging a trial court’s decision to acquit 16 policemen of charges of murder and other crimes in the case. The high court had on September 6 reserved its verdict on the appeals filed by Uttar Pradesh, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and some private parties including a survivor of the massacre, Zulfiqar Nasir.
Earlier, the trial court had acquitted them in March 2015 after finding that “it has not been proved beyond reasonable doubts” that the accused were PAC officials.
The accused were found guilty of murder and kidnapping, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).