SC gave death, but victimís father still waits for justice

FP

Amid the nationwide debate over giving rapists the death penalty, here is a case in which the Supreme Court awarded the death sentence, but the victim's family is still waiting for justice.

Amrish Kumar's five-year-old daughter was raped and killed in 2001. The accused, a neighbour, was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in February 2005. But former president Pratibha Patil commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment in May last year.

"We feel injustice has been done to us. Satish raped and strangulated my only daughter. He should be hanged to death, as ordered by the Supreme Court," said Kumar, a farmer in his early forties who lives in Meerut with his wife and 14-year-old son.

It is not just the trauma of losing his only daughter. Kumar spent a lot of money in pursuing the case. "I sold a part of my land and a house to raise the money," he said.

After the Supreme Court order, he thought his quest for justice had ended. But he now finds himself getting ready to fight another battle.

The case dates back to August 16, 2001, when Kumar's five-year-old daughter was abducted while she was returning home from school. The family lodged a missing report with the Sardhana police station in Meerut. The next day, her body was found in a field.

Following reports that the girl was last seen with Satish, he was picked up for questioning. Satish later admitted to the crime, and the victim's clothes were recovered from his residence.

On October 29, 2002, a Meerut court awarded death sentence to Satish for murder, along with custodial sentences and fines for various other offences.

However, the Allahabad High Court on October 14, 2003, set aside the conviction, saying that it was based on circumstantial evidence. Satish was released from jail.

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