Updated 6th Oct’2010: Priyadarshini Mattoo .. not avenged !The header seems a little incongruous now with the latest development of the Supreme Court having commuted her murderer Santosh Singhs sentence from ‘death’ as accorded by the High court to ‘life’ imprisonment. If this was not the rarest of the rare case what would be its denotation! She was stalked for years, cold bloodedly then and with pre meditated planning, raped and murdered.
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Its not often that one decides to prefix ‘divine’ with ‘justice’ given several cases where flouting of laws and subverting of justice has been almost rampantly prevalent. With the sentencing of Santosh Singh to the gallows, the rapist cum killer of 23 year old Priyadarshini Mattoo, 11 years back, ‘divine’ connotes more than just ‘heavenly’ intervention. It is a salute to the judiciary..finally.
In a grotesque incident Priyadarshini , a law student, was stalked by a fellow student Santosh for two years before she was brutally raped and stabbed 19 times in a pre-meditated act of revengeful murder. Whats devastating is the information that she had made continuous complaints to the police of his misdemeanours, prior to her death. Being the son of an influential IPS officer, in all probability, her feeble voice was silenced even before her death, by the nonchalance of the police officials in their eagerness to please the ‘bigwigs’ of society.
This unprecedented benchmark judgement delivered in the ‘rarest of rare cases’ proves unequivocally that media glare coupled with public outcry can achieve what was considered almost an impossibility, in Indian history. A death penalty awarded to a criminal from the upper echelons of society, well versed in the art of dodging the arms of law and having won his freedom earlier, is forced to undergo a retrial in a fast track court and pronounced guilty.
A story which Santosh Singh had begun etching out,dictated by his devious desires has culminated in the demand for a snuffing out of his life..blood for blood.
This spells hope for the other two languishing cases of Nitish katara and Jessica Lall, where proof of manipulating the laws has overshadowed evidences to book the culprits, again scions of wealthy, influential families. Its always befuddling to answer the quandary conclusively whether money , or lack of it is the nurturer of criminal mentality. Its either the sinfully rich or shamefully poor who contribute in numbers of criminal records. The middle clas are too busy eking out a decent living, supposedly.
After the initial euphoria of justice having been delivered, is the disillusionment that one cannot sit back in comfort knowing that it is an undeniable right.Its more a struggle for achievement of justice that is elucidated by this event. One case out of uncountable hundred other, where media attention has failed to highlight judicial lacunae. It is a drop in the ocean, albeit a step in the right direction.
The message sent out is loud and clear : Criminals should forsake their illusion of getting away with brutalities..they will be brought to book..sooner or later. Exemplary punishment of a death penalty in this case is unarguably recommended, if anything to act as a deterrent.
Media deserves praise for literally awaking the populace out of its reverie of inertia on the one hand and rousing CBI and police officials into erasing their wrong doing, which freed a criminal for 10 years, led him to get married, lead a normal life while the aged father of Priyadarshini was at the mercy of deaf ears, running from pillar to post in the hope of atleast doing his bit in avenging the brutal murder of his innocent, beautiful, talented little daughter. It was gut wrenching to see the visual of a father sitting next to a recorder playing out the song sung by Priyadarshini, as a ritual every morning. That is all he has left.. memories of his daughter.
And now.. there is Santosh Singhs two year old daughter who will pay for the crimes of her father.