Jessica Lal, a model, was murdered brutally, shot in the eye on 29th April 1999. Judgement has been delivered . All the nine accused, including Manu Sharma, son of Haryana minister Vinod Sharma, and Vikas Yadav, son of Don-turned politician, D.P. Yadav were let off
It is devastating to acknowledge the fact that we live in a country where the killing of a deer is a punishable offence, while the murderer of an innocent girl goes scot free!! It is a mockery of our judicial system to say the least. which seems to be blind in more ways than one and open to manipulation by the high-profiled and wealthy. Some message this from the judiciary.
Several lacunae on the part of the police coupled with all the five witnesses turning hostile, including an eyewitness, led to this shameful subservience of law and the culprits escape via the loopholes so inherent in our legal structure further weakened by the inordinate delay . To top it all, the evidence of the cartridges had been tampered with in the forensic lab . The guilty left no stone unturned to cover their footprints and succeeded. Of course, it goes without saying that had the urge been insatiable to ensure that the guilty be booked, hook or by crook, justice would have prevailed.
What would any of us have done in the event of being witness to this crime? I have been trying to delve deep within to elicit an honest response. I would have opted to be on the side of Justice, unarguably. What legacy would I have left my children otherwise? Shield the criminal and pretend to be worthy of being called an honorable human being!!
We as citizens can express our disgust and angst at the verdict. Text messages to petition the President for a retrial via NDTV are being sent, in thousands if not lakhs, hopefully. “Maybe this mockery could be questioned. Watching the main accused drive off in a government car is the biggest slap on the face of the judiciary”. We are sending around these messages to all those we think would care to further the cause of justice. It is heartening to record the numbers, rising by the hour.
Vikas Yadav, one of the accused, is also being tried in the gruesome murder of Nitesh Katara, a young executive bludgeoned to death by the brothers of the girl he was in love with. Two criminal actions of this scale is such a blatant display of ‘brattish behaviour’ which is almost a trademark of the spoilt kids of irresponsible parents, too drowned in their own revelries to sense the monstrosities of their offsprings. They spend the initial period of child rearing ,instilling erroneous morals and the later years in erasing the effects of the rot and destruction it brings in its wake.
We need to take responsibility if we have faltered so glaringly in the formative years. The buck stops at us, as parents. Talking of the ‘buck’ , it is poignant to note that the ‘Bishnois’ of Rajasthan, showed their loyalty to their endangered black buck, shot down by a film star, by unflinchingly standing by their case all these years and without bowing to pressure of any kind, succeeded in getting the culprit sentenced. OLE It stands to reason that they cherish their animals more than we value our fellow human beings and their lives.
As citizens it seems so incomprehensible that on the one hand we are sure we live in a free, secular, democratic India, but on the other hand events such as these force us to question the validity of the foundation of our judicial structure and give rise to the gnawing doubt as to how free we really are.
A free society is a just one, where crime is punished, guilty are brought to book and we are content in the knowledge of having a judiciary which will ensure the same. This seems Utopian in the given scenario which translates more as “you are a criminal only if proven”. Otherwise you are Plain Powerful. Licensed therefore to get “away with murder” literally. For Justice seems a servant in the hands of the wealthy. A sad state of affairs to say the least.
There has been a hue and cry, rightly so, and in a manner befitting an enlightened people. No violent protests or effigy burnings. But through the Press, internet, and T.V. channels, the expostulations of the common man are being heard and his incense being countenanced.
There is hope in the dramatic turn of events where the Delhi High Court has reacted to the reports of malafide investigation and prosecution. It has ordered a re-trial in four weeks. We wish earnestly that the 2 Ms , money and muscle power are relegated to the background in this fight for justice. One hopes then that some semblance of us co-habiting in a civilised and just society is restored. In the absence of which, not only is this a downer for the ordinary citizen but more alarmingly, an added impetus for the well-connected, with their brazenenss fuelled by their clout and replete in the sense of well being in their high citadels.
It would be imperative to wage war on those walls with public outrage and ostracism in its highest proportions to convey that India has finally risen. Our weapon , our ‘Brahmastra’ is our collective will and determination. Our potential as medium of change has been severely under utilised. If this incident is a catalyst to announce our potency, then so be it.
“If we do not maintain Justice, Justice will not maintain us.”
P.S. Judge S.L.Bhayana has been elevated to the High Court within three days of his acquittals. He hails from Haryana where Manu Sharmas father is Minister….Need one say more!