India: 16 ex-cops get life terms in decades-old case
It took the Indian legal system over three decades to convict the perpetrators of the country's most shocking extra-judicial killings.
After 31 years, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday sentenced 16 former policemen to life in prison for killing 42 Muslims in their custody.
What later began to be referred to as the Hashimpura massacre occurred in 1987 in Meerut city of the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
The accused had earlier been acquitted by a trial court but the high court quashed the judgement and convicted them for the killing of unarmed, innocent and defenseless persons.
In their ruling, Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel said the victim families had to wait for years to get justice and the court was conscious of the fact.
Zulfikar Nasir, an eyewitness to the massacre, said: “The victim families did not deter although the government and the police did everything to weaken the case.”
He said: “We were picked up when we were fasting. It’s a day I cannot forget. I still remember how we were treated.”
The massacre in May 1987 took place during communal riots in Meerut that continued from March to June that year and claimed nearly 350 lives.