New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sentenced 16 former policemen of Uttar Pradesh Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) to life imprisonment for killing 42 people. 

On May 2, 1987, 42 Muslims were killed at Hashimpura near Meerut by PAC personnel. The prosecution had said the policemen had come to village Hashimpura and picked up about 50 Muslims as a congregation of 500 had gathered outside a mosque there. 

The victims were shot by the accused personnel and their bodies were thrown into a canal.

The primary trial took place at the Tees Hazari Court in Delhi, which ruled in 2015 that killings took place but the accused could not be proven guilty of the crime due to lack of evidence. They were acquitted by the court.

The UP government had approached the High Court last week against the trial court order challenging that the policemen were guilty of the charges of murder, attempt to murder, tampering with evidence and conspiracy.

The Delhi High Court bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel reversed the trial court's verdict. All 16 former PAC personnel were held guilty of criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, murder and destruction of evidence.

The high court termed the massacre "targeted killing" of unarmed and defenceless people by the police. The court imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on each of the convicts.