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Published in the 16-30 Jun 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Legal aid committee for Hashimpura case

Meerut: According to a statement issued by Advocate Umeed Hasan Ghazi, a 21-member committee comprising of all communities and classes of Meerut has been formed with Maulana Yameen (former councillor) as convener. The committee will fight the cases of the mass killings of Muslims by the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) in Hashimpura, a suburb of Meerut, on 22 May 1987. The committee will also provide legal assistance to the affected people.

Advocate Ghazi said in his press release that in view of the sensitive and critical nature of the case and also to avoid any kind of risk, it has been decided that no person or organisation in or outside Meerut will be authorised to issue any press statement or receive summons from courts or to appear before any commission of enquiry or to undertake any legal action in local courts or the Supreme Court of India on behalf of the affected persons. The newly-formed committee will undertake the responsibility of transporting the witnesses safely to the courts and bringing them back to their homes. This committee will also be authorised to appoint lawyers on behalf of the people of Hashimpura through powers of attorney.

The press release issued by Advocate Ghazi did not specify as to why people of Meerut and other places who have been handling this case for the past 17 years have now been suddenly excluded from handling this case and why this power has now been given to the newly formed committee. 

It may be recalled that the notoriously anti-Muslim PAC had kidnapped a number of Muslims during Ramadan, shot them dead on 22 May 1987 and threw their bodies in the Ganga Canal, Murad Nagar and Link Raod Canal in one of the worst cases of PAC brutality during communal riots. The PAC personnel who were involved in these cold-blooded murders were booked in cases No. 110/87 and No. 144/87 in State vs. Surenderpal and others. This case, after long delays and delaying tactics by UP government authorities, was transferred to Delhi's Tees Hazari Court No. 18 of Special Judge R. K. Jain where it is pending.

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