ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Lessons from History

The follow-up report on the Hashimpura killings (1987) (‘Hashimpura Killings’ by Iqbal Ansari, EPW, December 30, 2000) reflects the apathy of our rulers towards the masses. Down memory lane, I recollect today that at the time of the brutal killings, the late Bir Bahadur Singh was chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. He had been accused of following a pro-Hindutva line. The chief minister’s leaning naturally affected and poisoned the UP administration. The then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi visited riot-torn Ahmedabad but delayed going to Meerut. The killings of Hashimpura and Maliana by PAC personnel were not the result of just another riot but the end product of communalism creeping into the administration.

But the PAC brutality was not the only element that cast its deathly pall over Meerut in those days. In many ways Meerut resembled what many Delhi localities looked in the aftermath of the November 1984 riots against the Sikhs. There were clear signs that some organisation and preparation had gone into fuelling the uncontrollable communal frenzy which swept the town. But when compared to the Delhi riots of 1984, there was one significant difference. In Meerut, the administration and PAC personnel were clearly siding with the majority community. This was unpardonable. It is a matter of grave concern for all law-abiding citizens that today, after 13 years, the PAC personnel who have been charged with the murder are yet to face the courts. This is not justice at all in a democratic and civilised country.

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