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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Priyadarshini Mattoo murder verdict: One down, two to go

The long-awaited judgment on the botched up trial and subsequent re-trial of the rape and murder of Priyadarshini Mattoo has finally arrived, and it remarkably quick time this time in the Delhi High Court. It took just 11 sittings in 50 days for the HC Bench to come to a verdict. This shows that if the judiciary takes a stand, the state machineries will fall into line just as the CBI did this time by investigating and presenting the case as it should be.

Well, that’s not what I want to discuss here. The point is who should take the credits for eventually bringing the culprit Santosh Kumar Singh to book. As India Daily has pointed out, the media is trying to take the credit for making the crime and the acquittal of Santosh Singh such a high-profiled one. It credits Priyadarshini’s father Shri Chaman Lal Mattoo for being tenacious in seeking justice for his daughter.

I agree that without Shri CL Mattoo’s indomitable courage, the process would not gone forward. However, from where did he get the initial push? A middle-aged man like him would have broken down completely in the face of such adversity. Therefore, in my opinion the following factors are solely responsible:

a) The Indian Express for this, this and this that brought back to focus the miscarriage of justice on the case to public attention again.
b) Priyadarshini’s relatives, friends and earlier acquaintances who together started a mass campaign through the Internet [e.g. this and this].
c) Various TV channels highlighting the case, and the various campaigns for her justice resulting in stirring the collective conscience of the society.

Now that the first high-profile case is over with justice finally being delivered, now the attention will be upon the two other notorious acquittals – the Jessica Lall murder case and the Nitish Katara murder case. What makes the last two cases unique is one person Vikas Yadav, the main accused in the Nitish Katara case is a co-accused in the Jessica Lall case as well.

It took remarkably less time to arrive at the verdict of the Priyadarshini Mattoo murder case. The fate of Santosh Kumar Singh will be decided on Oct 31. There is hardly any doubt in my mind that Vikas Yadav and Manu Sharma – pals in real life, will most probably be pals in prison for the rest of their lives as well; that is if one or both escape


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