The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sentenced 16 policemen to life imprisonment for killing 42 Muslim men in Uttar Pradesh’s Hashimpura in 1987, PTI reported. A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel convicted the 16 former Provincial Armed Constabulary personnel for murder, kidnapping, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence.

The court was hearing petitions challenging a trial court’s acquittal of the 16 policemen on charges of murder and other crimes. All of them have retired from service.

Describing the massacre as a “targeted killing” of unarmed and defenceless people by the police, the High Court reversed the lower court’s judgement. Monetary relief cannot compensate for the loss suffered by the victims’ families who had to wait for 31 years to get justice, observed the court.

In May 1987, the policemen had rounded up the men from their homes in Hashimpura in Meerut, shot them at close range, and had thrown their bodies into the Hindon canal.