People & Power

India’s Forgotten Massacre

More than 36 years ago, 72 Muslims were massacred in the Indian village of Maliyana. Today, victims still await justice.

On May 23, 1987, 72 Muslims were massacred in the village of Maliyana in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The violence was allegedly carried out by a mob of locals and the state government’s Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel. In early 2023, after 36 years and hundreds of hearings, a district court in Uttar Pradesh acquitted dozens of the accused due to insufficient evidence.

The Maliyana massacre occurred amid the turmoil of the 1987 riots in Meerut district, Uttar Pradesh. Tensions had flared between Hindus and Muslims following the opening of the disputed Babri Mosque in 1986. On May 17, clashes between the two groups erupted, leading to the imposition of a curfew just two days later. The state government called in 11 companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) to assist the local police in maintaining law and order. Survivors and witnesses say they were horrified when the PAC allegedly began targeting Muslims throughout the district, despite their mandate to protect and serve all citizens.