Dilson's single-room house in Indira Gandhi Nagar on Pallavan Salai wore a deserted look on Friday afternoon. As a dog tied to the door barked at the sight of strangers, those in the locality took notice.

On hearing about the court verdict in the Dilson murder case, their faces lit up.

Dilson, 13, was shot dead last July by retired Indian Army officer K. Ramaraj after the boy entered an officers' residential complex here to pluck almonds.

Dilson's uncle C. Selvam and aunt Kala Selvam at Indira Nagar were overjoyed to hear the news of the verdict and added that “the accused deserves it.” “We waited for this day and there is some relief that justice has been served. But the loss of our boy is irreparable,” Kala said.

A lesson for others

The couple believe that the verdict is a lesson for others. Dilson's cousin Selvi said his mother Kalaivani thought that the man who killed her son should be put behind bars for life. “Her wish has now been fulfilled,” Selvi said.

As the news spreads, people gathered near Dilson's door and get to know more details and discuss the news. Many recall the day the teenager went out to play with three of his friends and fell victim to a bullet.

“I still remember the little boy playing around in the neighbourhood. Honestly, I didn't think the ex-service man would be punished with a life sentence but thought he will get away with the crime. But it feels good to know that justice prevails,” said a senior citizen from the neighbourhood.

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