New Delhi:early 30 years since the Hashimpura massacre, the then superintendent of police of Ghaziabad district has come out with a book giving his version of the gory incident in which 42 Muslims were gunned by jawans of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC).
“Still weighing heavy on my conscience is that horrifying night of May 22 in the humid summer of 1987. And the subsequent days, similarly, are etched in my memory like as if on stone – it was something that overpowered the cop in me. The Hashimpura experience continues to torment me,” says Vibhuti Narain Rai.
“Hashimpura 22 May 22: The Forgotten Story of India’s Biggest Custodial Killings” is a blow-by-blow account of the massacre and its aftermath. Translated by Darshan Desai from the Hindi version, it is published by Penguin Books.
“It was around 10.30 p.m. and I had just returned from Hapur. After dropping the district magistrate, Nasim Zaidi, at his official residence, I reached the residence of the superintendent of police.
“Just as I reached its gates, the headlights of my car fell on the frightened and nervous sub-inspector, V B Singh, who was then in charge of the Link Road police station. I could guess something terrible had happened in his jurisdiction. I asked the driver to halt the car and got out,” Rai recalls.
According to him, Singh seemed too scared to explain coherently what had happened exactly.
“Even then, his string of broken words was enough to shock anyone. I could make out that the jawans of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) had killed some people, most likely Muslims, near the canal crossing the road leading to Makanpur,” he writes.
Why were they killed? How many were killed? From where were they picked up? All these questions came to Rai’s mind.
“After several attempts of trying to get Singh to be more coherent about the details, this is what I gathered about the incident: It was around 9 pm when V B Singh and his colleagues sitting at the police station heard gunshots from near Makanpur and they thought there were some dacoits in the village.
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