Compensation is a dirty, even dangerous, word in Hashimpura. Can there be any compensation for a life taken, the people ask. The awkward silence is finally broken by Mohammed Shahnawaz (29), who was barely six months old in 1987. “Will the government accept Rs 20 lakh to kill a hundred people?” he asked this reporter.
It’s five days after the acquittal of 16 policemen in the 1987 massacre case where 42 Muslims were killed in cold blood, but Hashimpura is still clearly on edge. There’s anger, bitterness, inconsolable grief. If his father hadn’t been killed by the PAC so senselessly, his life would have been so different, says Shahnawaz. For one, he wouldn’t have lost out on an education, forced to be the salesman at a small garment shop that he is now.