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Published in the 1-15 Apr 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Maliana massacre 

Justice eluding the victims

The Milli Gazette Online 

New Delhi: Maliana massacre case was adjourned again last week, a case which has been hanging in the courts for 18 years. The sessions court in Tis Hazari told that one of the accused, Ram Dhyan was not present as he was in a jail in Varanasi after he allegedly murdered four persons, including three Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) men, in Azamgarh in the last week of February.

Muslim youths being rounded up at Hashimpura in 1987

Muslim youths being rounded 
up at Hashimpura in 1987

In 1987, as a fall out of Maliana riots, 19 PAC personnel had allegedly shot dead 40 Muslim youths from the Muslim neighbourhood of Hashimpura in Meerut. The police rounded up Muslim families, herded into trucks and shot them in cold blood.

The Tis Hazari Court has been hearing the case since October 2002 after the Supreme Court transferred the it from a UP court to Delhi. 

The chargesheet in the case was filed in 1997, 10 years after the massacre, but even till today the charges have not been framed against the accused.

A review of the case record makes it clear that the presence of "secular" parties such as the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party or the Congress in the Uttar Pradesh government has not made the pursuit of justice any easier. The last two years were wasted because the Mulayam Singh Yadav government did not appoint a proper special public prosecutor (SPP).

From October 2002 to March 2004, there was no SPP so the case could not be proceeded with. Then UP government named a SPP but he was not qualified in terms of experience and had to be removed by the court after counsel for the victims complained about it. In November 2004, the government named a new SPP, S. Adlakha but the victims’s counsels are not satisfied with his grasp of a complex criminal case. 

Vrinda Grover, a counsel for the victims said that the new SPP has till date only sought adjournments, and arguments on the charges are yet to be commenced. A case of this gravity deserved an SPP who has considerable experience and expertise both in prosecution as well as in criminal trials.

According to Ms Grover, the victims have a right to be consulted in the choice of a SPP but the UP government has ignored their representation.

The CBI-CID, which was asked to probe the killings in 1988 submitted its report in 1994. But the report was never made public and its findings would probably have been given a quiet burial.

There was no progress in the case in the Ghaziabad court, filed in it in 1996. The state government failed to ensure that the accused were arrested and produced in court. All of them were on duty with the government and drawing salaries. But the government denied knowing their whereabouts. Following news reports about the government’s lack of interest in the case, the accused were produced in court in 2000. Even thereafter no progress was made in case prompting the SC’s intervention. 

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