October 31, 2006

At Last Divine Justice-Priyadarshini Mattoo

Filed under: Suicides murder women,This Gets To Me — Kaveeta Oberoi Kaul @ 12:07 pm


Kaveetaa Kaul

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.

Priyadarshinis father is a shattered man today! Rightly so!

Original post :

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.




  1. sumtime i wonder justice in our land is served cold πŸ™‚ whereas the only dish savoured cold is -Revenge!!
    so throwing cautionz to the wind n just thumbz down to the judiciary, sumtimes i feel just to get the tit for tat going.. an eye for an eye!! well, then the gandhigiri remindz me… ‘wud leave the world blind’:)
    still… time flkowz, woundz heal n with the approachin winterz we have just a sentence.. wait! they’ll make so many debatable flickz outta it n again the old pains wud ignite… dunno, sumtimes the logicz of life aint seem gud enuf to make us any better individualz..
    again.. ummid pe duniya kayam hai.. just that it feels real COLD now!

    Comment by saptarshi — October 31, 2006 @ 5:05 pm | Reply

  2. Judiciary deserves a pat on d back.

    This man deserves no mercy.

    We deserve to heave a sigh of relief.

    Comment by dilip — October 31, 2006 @ 5:38 pm | Reply

  3. I for one am real pleased at the verdict.Its high time that rapists get the message loud and clear that justice is alive n kicking in India..bahut ho gaya..and in this case she was murdered too. why are his friends protesting??what do they expect? must be all like him..want to behave like a criminal and be treated like a saint..what rot.

    Comment by neha — November 1, 2006 @ 8:05 am | Reply

  4. hey sapt,

    no fear..warm the cockles of your heart.Come to think of it, we are but ‘kathputlis’ …’dor toh ooparwale ke haath mein hai’.But certain things demand strong responses ..they are too damning to deserve philosophical outpourings from us. You see the average person is ‘good’ and all ‘goodness’ therefore retribution or death for death, rankles.But…

    Hi dilip,

    and you deserve a πŸ™‚

    Hi Neha,

    Yeah.. I know what you mean..I saw the clippings of violent demonstrations from his friends..but this morning the TOI informs that he did not have a single visitor in Tihar ever since his lock up. Where have all those passionate pals disappeared?

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — November 1, 2006 @ 9:55 am | Reply

  5. hehehe… winterz are here.. so can spring be far behind:)
    u watchin a lotta oldie reels of late kya?well, won argue on this one.. only am just ur normal biological sample πŸ™‚ n sumwhere driven by science n logic -blame it on the one track indian education system.. so it wud take time for the ‘of-late-on-the-cardz’ gandhigiri to percolate in… now don send me flowerz n cardz everyday :))

    Comment by saptarshi — November 1, 2006 @ 8:31 pm | Reply

  6. hey sapt ..that was good ole kaka boy..our ‘Anand’..remember??

    ’bout the cardz and flowers..dont be too sure..just might..with an earnest prayer..’get well soon fastest’:)

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — November 2, 2006 @ 5:58 pm | Reply

  7. i adv. manish kumar khanna have got a list fom tihar jail which shows that people are behind bars for 17-17 years and appeals have not been heard. there are people who have been acquitted after 13 years and people who are undertrials for 10-10 years. there are people who were behind bars for 10=10 years and served out full sentences but hon’ble high court did not hear their appeals . this is violation of justice itself help me raise voice against this injustice spread the word. you may contact me at 9810124266

    Comment by manish khanna — November 3, 2006 @ 2:54 pm | Reply

  8. Hi Manish,

    You have a valid point and concern..without a doubt I would like to lend my voice in supporting your cause.In case you wish to write an article here on my blog, I will welcome it. You can e mail me at the address on the ‘About’ page.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — November 3, 2006 @ 3:35 pm | Reply

  9. i take that get well soon wit a heart break man!! well… still as therez alwayz the scope for improvement, ill wage on.. otherwise… i like it the fast n furious way…. the headz in the rite place πŸ™‚ anyway wishes r safe….

    Comment by saptarshi — November 3, 2006 @ 5:52 pm | Reply

  10. hey sapt..with a pinch of salt and loads of humor as heart breakz plz..just lightening thingz up..see got your zz in place:)

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — November 3, 2006 @ 6:11 pm | Reply

  11. While on most part I agree with what you say, Kaveeta. I’m glad that justice has been done. I’m very happy for the Mattoo family. And I hope and pray that justice is delivered soon in the Jessica Lal (who I happened to know well) and in the Nitish Katara case, as well as 100s of others who have not found a voice in the media.

    Its the death sentence that I have a problem with. Howveve heinous, planned, cold blooded, the crime is I strongly feel there is always a place for reform and rehabilitation and death penalty is no option at all. Whether it is bomb blasts, rape, murder death penalty will not reduce such crimes. CRIMINALS ARE NOT BORN THEY ARE MADE, IN OUR VERY OWN SOCIETY. There are many and different reasons for different people for indulging in crimes of terrorism and violence. We need to go beyond the crime, need to look into the causes of the crime why did he/ she do it , what are the reasons, what led him or her to do it, we have to weed out the roots of crime…

    Does justice always have to mean retribution???? Reformatory justice makes more sense.

    Death penalty should be abolished irrespective of the gravity of the crime!

    You also say “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.” Now thats a sweeping statement and has no statistics to support it. Crimes committed by the rich and famous make for better media and get highlighted. The poor suffer because they do not have the means to access the instruments of empowerment – lawyers, media and even senior police officers. The middle class has a carpet under which they can sweep a lot of dust. I am willing to bet my last penny that if the demographics of crime and criminals was ever to be conducted, the proportion of rich, middle-class and poor would be pretty much a reflection of their porportion in the Indian society.

    Comment by Vikrant — November 4, 2006 @ 2:06 pm | Reply

  12. Hi Vikrant,
    I understand your contention about death sentence and ordinarily would have seconded it without a thought. Somehow, in this case where the criminal was stalking her for two years, was reprimanded by the police warned and therefore in complete knowledge of the repurcussions, a lawyer himself , yet emboldened to take this inhuman and violent method to appease his passion is inexcusable. One gets the feeling that mindsets such as santosh singh, manu sharma and the likes are nourished, encouraged and raring to go ahead because at the back of their mind is the comfort that they will manage to subvert the law and get away scott he did, the first time. The fear of law is absent therfore crime has seen a rise. This aspect necessitates an exemplary death sentence in this case where the crime was not only grievous but the act was perhaps carried out in the shadow of a gulitless daring and blatant apathy towards human life.Deterrents are crucial and this may be the apt turning point.
    I would be interested in the demographics of the ratio as well..till such time we shall have to reserve our judgement. In fact I do recall statistics supporting my statement but was not able to locate it on the net..till then..hold on to our last penny V..I just might challenge you on it..

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — November 4, 2006 @ 3:44 pm | Reply

  13. with all the sugarz n spicez that are there πŸ™‚ was really wonderin for a while wen the ‘zzz..’ wud ‘launch a thousand shipz’!! hehehe.. the helen angle:)

    sumwhere its become a sweet tooth of mine n hope the puritz aint too unhappy… sure lifez still in one piece.. happy life!!
    u aint gettin me sum scribbling gig 2 b’lore.. plz ‘help age india’ on that!!

    Comment by saptarshi — November 4, 2006 @ 5:10 pm | Reply

  14. So don’t you think, a youth spent in prison would ensure that Santosh Singh is not gonna kill again?? And if he IS hanged, would it really prevent other Manu Sharmas, Santosh Singhs, Vikas Yadavs from killing someone?

    And you didn’t bit the middle class bait 😦

    Comment by Vikrant — November 6, 2006 @ 3:41 pm | Reply

  15. V..Just a small reminder of the Salman-buck were on the opposite end of the spectrum then.. I was putting up a case for progressive justice..wonder whats changed? have I finally converted you??
    And its more of an exemplificationary act..a deterrent for future power/money/spoilt kids trying to escape punishment despite being criminals.
    But I did respond to the bait..albeit not as in ‘biting.:)..have caught on to your passive aggressive, spar inciting ways. my mail?

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — November 7, 2006 @ 10:47 am | Reply

  16. I still believe in retrbutive justice. Its just the death penalty that I’m against!!

    Comment by Vikrant — November 8, 2006 @ 3:41 pm | Reply

  17. Kaveetaa; tears, which crystalized upon my cheeks when I’d read this gruesome crime and mal-justified closure when you’d written about it months ago.

    The crystalized tears stayed there.. reminding me how vulnerable a woman is; how we are indeed the sheep, among the wolves.

    Kaveetaa; these tears are warmed, and evaporate with the joy which replace them, as I read here now; her murderer has been charged.

    Indeed, is India waking up to the reality of a co-existing society where we all abide by the law; and whereby if by the law…regardless of celebrity, governmental, relisgious, spiritual, or financial status!!

    India has indeed, earned my respect in this act of justice…. held straight at last!

    May Priyadarshini Mattoo father rest his heavy-burdened heart; at long last, having his daughters murderer brought to justice!

    But, now.. a new tear appears; for Santosh’s innocent daughter will indeed pay for his sins…she will feel the pain of Priyadarshini Mattoo father has all these years. And Santosh’s punishment, will deter more hate-crimes against women!

    Yes, I too..await justice for Jessica Lall, and Nitish katara … many of us around the world.. wait for India’s most trusted superiors, to do the law of justice as proscribed by the law!

    I for one, sit here with the highest of hopes, that India will continue to show the world; that the value of a human being, is more than gender, more than money, more than social status…

    Bravo(for now–2 more to go!)

    with loving kindness,

    Comment by North — November 10, 2006 @ 11:44 am | Reply

  18. Thanks for the heart warming comment and political power in a poor nation like ours wield so much clout that i think our jubilation was shortlived.

    In a recent development, Ram jethmalani , The top most criminal lawyer of the country who has also held the portfolio of law minister, took over the case to represent the convict.He is at present doing his darnedest to twist the case, and promised the media in full glare of a thousand cameras and news channels, that he will FREE his client..

    Justice is yet being held at ransom and is openly being violated of its sanctity..more than that it is turning out to be a mockery of a system which inherently promises justice to citizens..who needs enemies when there are lawyers!!!

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — November 10, 2006 @ 8:45 pm | Reply

  19. will anyone let me know the names of the lawyers who fought for priyadarshini mattoo and jessica lal.i believe that such lawyers should be accessible to the general public.

    Comment by jyoti — January 4, 2007 @ 1:00 am | Reply

  20. […] is the third in the triumvirate of cases the other two being Jessica Lall and Priyadarshini Mattoo where middle class citizens unflinchingly took on the power manic offenders and […]

    Pingback by Bharati Yadav Nitish Katara- Love is a smoke made with the fumes of sighs… « Sachiniti — May 29, 2008 @ 8:21 am | Reply

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