Twenty eight years ago in Meerut, when the escalated riots smoothen and conditions tend to normalise, a group of nineteen personnel of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) arrive at Hashimpura, handpick 50 youth and fell them with bullets. Only a few people are able to escape the brutality to tell the tale of this holocaust to the world and to bring the persecutors to book. However, to the distrust of all believing in law, a court decision comes giving clean-chit to all the accused.
The decision is certainly one of the darkest in the Indian criminal law system bringing the credibility of the court under doubt. With every decision biased communally, the muslims feel more and more insecure in India. India which prides being called the largest democracy in the world can’t afford its law to take the unusual course as exemplified by Hashimpura incident.
Just delayed and then delivered is a better option than justice delayed for long and then denied. Every one wonders why are courts too nimble to deliver the death sentence to a muslim even if the evidence is not sufficient to prove him guilty; as in Afzal Guru’s case. That decision was forced partly to satiate the collective conscience and partly to meet the political motives and this decision is to save the communal conscience.
An Afzal Guru is putatively considered chaperoning the militants and without proving anything concrete against him, he is hanged and his kin is denied the possession of his dead body. And the executers of an open massacre, who are issued non-bailable warrants 17 times between 1998 and 2000, and against whom a number of eyewitnesses record their testimonies, are released honourably. Such is the system of justice prevailing here.
Such decisions may serve the short-term political purpose but are accompanied by far-reaching ill repercussions. Law is law and it should treat the people equal. It is made after rising above the borders of religion and caste. Whenever it discriminates, it ceases to be a law.
By: Aarif Qadir