Candlelight march on the occasion of the victim's birth anniversary
NEW DELHI: A large number of civil rights activists and members of various social organisations on Sunday took out a candlelight protest march at India Gate to demand reinvestigation and retrial of the Priyadarshini Mattoo murder case.
Former Union Minister Maneka Gandhi and actor Anupam Kher also joined the march organised on the occasion of the victim's birth anniversary.
Stating that Priyadarshini was allegedly raped and murdered by the son of an Inspector General of Police, the activists who came together under the banner of "Justice For Priyadarshini'' said on Sunday that the accused, Santosh Kumar Singh, is a lawyer in Delhi's Tees Hazari Court.
Pointing out that in his order, Justice J.P. Thareja had stated that "though I know he is the man who committed the crime, I acquit him, giving him the benefit of the doubt,'' the activists demanded to know "is this justice''.
Though 10 years have passed since she was murdered on January 23, 1996, the protestors said her family and friends are yet to get justice.
Incidentally, a group of Delhi University students, called United Students, has decided to spearhead the campaign for the retrial in the Priyadarshini Mattoo case.
"Priyadarshini Mattoo was a Delhi University student and that is a good enough reason for us to take this campaign further. United Students is mandated to work on issues concerning students and the youth and the issue of safety of women is of the highest priority for us,'' said Aditya Dar, a student of Kirori Mal College and a member of the group.
Unites Students has been campaigning for retrial in the Priyadarshini Mattoo case since last week and has been distributing pamphlets in the university and sending SMS and e-mails about the incident.
Its members have also met other student groups and youth forums to drum up support for the cause. The media coordinators of the group Aditya Raj said "the State must fulfil its obligations and if it can't, we have no right to pretend to have a justice system at all''.
The protest also witnessed participation of a number of residents welfare associations who came out to support the campaign for getting justice for Priyadarshini Mattoo.