For the Hashimpura Massacre, 16 police officers were sentenced to life imprisonment by an Indian court for massacring dozens of unarmed Muslims during riots. Hashimpura massacre and clashes between Hindu and Muslims erupted in 1987 and the officers were found guilty of shooting 42 men and tossing their bodies into canals.
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A lower court had acquitted the officers from a special branch of Uttar Pradesh’s police force in 2015 for a lack of evidence. But a two-judge bench of the Delhi High Court reversed that decision, saying they conducted a “targeted killing of unarmed and defenceless people”.
The court found them guilty of criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, murder and the destruction of evidence, the Press Trust of India reported. Grisly pictures submitted as evidence to the court showed lines of Muslim men kneeling at gunpoint as uniformed police stood guard, rifles at the ready in what came to be known as the “Hashimpura Massacre”.
The policemen, all of whom have now retired, have been asked to surrender to authorities before November 22. The Hashimpura massacre was one of the deadliest incidents in a long-running feud over a religious site in Ayodhya considered sacred by Hindus. Months of rioting over the Babri Mosque, where Hindus believe a temple was once built to Lord Ram, left an estimated 350 dead in 1987.
In 1992, the Babri mosque was razed by Hindu zealots, sparking further violence that killed more than 2,000. The murder of Hindu pilgrims returning by train from Ayodhya in 2002 triggered revenge attacks on Muslims in Gujarat state that left more than 700 dead by government estimates.
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