Nithari victims’ families want ‘full justice’

Updated - November 16, 2021 11:35 pm IST

Published - September 07, 2014 09:59 am IST - NOIDA:

The Nithari case has changed everything in this village said a resident.

The Nithari case has changed everything in this village said a resident.

In less than a week, the man who claimed to have killed Ashok Kumar’s son will be hanged at Meerut jail. Eight years after Satendra, also known as Max, went missing, Mr. Kumar still struggles to make sense of what happened inside D-5, Sector 31.

“We never got his remains. There was no DNA match or clothing found. The only thing we know is that Surendra Koli identified my son as one of the victims,” says Mr. Kumar.

The five-year-old boy went missing on April 27, 2006, from near his home in Nithari village. An FIR was lodged the next day, but the family only learned about their son’s fate in December that year when the gruesome killings of scores of children and young women hit the headlines.

A resident of the nearby D-5, Moninder Singh Pandher, and his domestic help Koli were found guilty. A special CBI court handed them the death sentence, but Pandher managed to get it repealed. The CBI had filed 16 charge-sheets against Koli, who is on death row for the murder of a 14-year-old girl. Eleven cases are still pending.

For Mr. Kumar, the court is yet to hear his son’s case so Koli’s hanging would be bittersweet. “They both were charged with the same things so Pandher should have also been hanged. He is going to get away with this. This is not full justice,” says Mr. Kumar.

Though his family got monetary compensation from the Uttar Pradesh Government, he says they would happily trade it to have their son back.

“He is a tall child. He would have been as tall as me now,” says the grieving father, switching from present tense to past.

Former village headman Vikram Singh Pradhan says the ‘Nithari case’ changed everything. Interestingly, residents of the village refer to the case as the “D-5 waala mamla”, reminding visitors that the village had nothing to do with the brutal actions of Koli.

A native of the area, Mr. Pradhan remembers playing in the narrow streets of the village as a child. “Now, we are always worried about the children. They can’t have the kind of carefree childhood as before,” he says.

Meanwhile, Satendra’s brother and sisters will never know their eldest sibling. Mr. Kumar’s daughter was 29 days old when Satendra went missing, while the other two children were born after that. They ask their parents about the photographs on the wall. “What can I tell them?” asks Mr. Kumar.

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