Genocide, as usual

Hashimpura massacre, Malegaon blasts, Gujarat 2002: Will those involved in communal carnages ever face punishment in India?

More than 42 Muslim families of Hashimpura, Meerut still await justice for the massacre of their family members, shot dead by the PAC of the UP police on May 24, 1987, their bodies dumped in Hindon river. For 22 years, family members have knocked on every door of justice while the killers roam free, some with gallantry medals and promotions. Some of the accused have died of old age and retired. But, no one has been punished despite the testimonies of people who survived the massacre.

Survivors and family members filed 613 RTI applications: why the accused PAC men are still in service? Has any disciplinary action or departmental enquiry been initiated against them? They sought copies of the Annual Confidential Report (ACR) of each accused. The information commission revealed that these killings find no mention in their ACRs. Rather, ACRs of the accused had positive remarks about their honesty and good conduct. Even a CID enquiry didn't hamper their career growth. So that's what happens to killers of organised massacres in India - with or without uniforms.

The Malegaon blast case was meticulously investigated by late ATS chief Hemant Karkare. It recently suffered a setback after a special court dropped MCOCA invoked against the accused - Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Lt Col SP Purohit and nine others. None of them had more than one chargesheet filed against him/her for invoking provisions of MCOCA. The state government will challenge the order in high court.

More than 35 people died in the Malegaon blasts in 2006. The case hit a roadblock after Karkare was killed during the Mumbai attacks on 26/11. Karkare, many believed, had ample evidence to nail the accused and was on the verge of making a breakthrough. Since then, the links of Hindutva forces with terror attacks seems to have died down. Why? Is the government going slow? Is it under pressure from Hindutva insiders? Is it yet again a cover up?

While Bombay serial blasts accused have been booked and punished, the Justice Srikrishna Commission report categorically implicating the Shiv Sena and the police for the Bombay pogrom of 1992-93 has been dumped - both by the BJP and Congress regimes. Congress politicians allegedly involved in the 1984 massacre of Sikhs are still playing footsie in power politics. And it is still uncertain whether the killers of Gujarat 2002 will ever be punished, including the man who master-minded it all.

There are still a series of blast cases yet to be solved - Mecca Masjid blasts in Hyderabad, Samjhauta blasts, to name a few. Yet, several Muslims were picked up in Hyderabad and reportedly tortured - they were later found innocent. Aren't we, our governments and administration, guilty of religious profiling of sorts and to such detrimental effect?

This story is from the print issue of Hardnews: SEPTEMBER 2009