1987 Meerut communal riots

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The 1987 Meerut riots were a series of violent communal disturbances between Hindus and Muslims along with PAC in the Northern UP[1] town Meerut which occurred from March to June 1987. It resulted in the death of more than 350 people.[2]


According to Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence tension started in 1986 when the black seal of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya was opened by the Government which angered some sections of the Muslims.[3] Babri Masjid and RamJanmabhoomi controversy created huge communal tension in Uttar Pradesh.[4]


Inflammatory speeches during a rally held in March 1987 by the All India Babri Masjid Action Committee, a non government organization representing Muslims created communal tensions in Meerut which led to communal clashes in April. 10 people died in these riots. The murder of a Hindu man due to a land dispute aggravated issues and was given a communal tinge. This resulted in additional police and subsequently the army and CRPF being called in to restore order.

The first acts of violence were between police and Muslim but later on became a communal riot. A Hindu shop owner was stabbed to death by Muslim rioters during violence between police and Muslims. Instigating speeches were given from Loudspeakers in the Imiliyan Mosque. Dozens were killed in the next few days as the riots spread to Modinagar. Estimated property loss was around 50 crores. Hindu and Muslim doctors faced the wrath of their own community for treating patients of other community.[4]

According to People's Union for Civil Liberties, after a Muslim girl was crushed under police jeep; The mob became violent and police fired killed several people. A mill was attacked by a Muslim mob, killing almost dozen people and a Hindu doctor Dr Prabhat, who was going out to attend a call of a Muslim patient, was stopped in his car and the mob in its senseless fury burnt him along with the car. This is doubly unfortunate because Shri Har Pal Singh, father of the deceased, even much later, continues to subscribe to his non-communal approach and was responsible for saving a few Muslim lives when Hindu mobs went on a rampage subsequently.[5][6] Muslim Mob on the Hapur Road burnt a petrol pump, and a timber godown belonging to Hindus.Some mischief makers got control of the loudspeaker on the mosque and started exhorting people to gather together and to save Islam.Later on Hindu mobs retaliated and attacked Muslim homes. It was alleged that the police was with Hindu mob and biased against the Muslims [6]

50 gazetted police officers and more than 60 companies of the PAC, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Army had to control the riots.[7] Many Muslims were burnt alive in Maliana.[5]

Trials and 2018 verdict[edit]

On 6 September 2018, the Delhi high court reserved its verdict in the case. On 31 October 2018, the Delhi HC convicted 16 former PAC personnel for life after finding them guilty of the murder of 42 people.[8]


  1. ^ Uekert, Brenda. Rivers of Blood: A Comparative Study of Government Massacres. Greenwood Publishing.
  2. ^ Raval, Sheela; Chakravarty, Sayantan; Ahmed, Farzand (21 July 2003). "Riotous fury in India: Innocent people suffer, accused go free". India Today. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  3. ^ "1987; May 18–23: Meerut (Uttar Pradesh)". massviolence.org/. Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence.
  4. ^ a b Badhwar, Inderjit (15 June 1987). "Devastating communal riots sweep through Meerut and its adjoining areas in Uttar Pradesh". India Today. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  5. ^ a b "The good samaritans of Hashimpura".
  6. ^ a b "Meerut riots of May 1987". pucl.org/. People's Union for Civil Liberties.
  7. ^ "Justice out of sight". www.frontline.in.
  8. ^ "India's dismal record in riot convictions". The Times Of India.