M A I N   N E W S

He deserves death, says Priya’s mother
Jupinderjit Singh/TNS

Jammu, October 6
“Today, I am feeling as shattered as I had felt on the day my daughter was raped and killed in Delhi 14 years ago,” were the first words of Rajeshwari Mattoo over the death sentence to the murderer of her daughter Priyadarshini being commuted into life term by the Supreme Court.

Also, it was for the first time that Rajeshwari, a retired Jammu college principal, spoke her heart out before the media after the murder in January 1996.

Notably, Priyadarshini Mattoo, a 23-year-old law student at a Delhi college, was raped and murdered by Santosh Kumar Singh, the son of an IPS officer. He had been sentenced to death by the Delhi High Court, a punishment commuted to life term today by the apex court.

Rajeshwari said, “I have high regard for the Supreme Court, but I don’t understand the reasons behind the verdict. After fighting all these years, I feel the law like an ‘eye for an eye’ is the proper punishment for such criminals… I have died every day since her murder.”

Recalling the “oft-spoken” words of Priyadarshini, her mother says, “When she joined the law college, her aim was to be an IAS officer. She used to tell me that in this country only politicians, cops and bureaucrats can have their say and live without fear. Her words proved true as the spoilt brat of a police officer first made her life miserable and eventually killed her.”

Though Priyadarshini’s father Prof CL Mattoo has been speaking largely on the issue, Rajeshwari resiled into silence. “I was depressed. I recovered after the high court ordered death penalty for that monster. I thought there was hope in this country, but today I have lost it again. He has already managed many times to come out of Tihar Jail. He would be a free bird soon… The high court had said it was a rare of rare cases. Santosh had been stalking her for several months before the murder. The crime was pre-mediated. His father supported and encouraged him.”

Notably, the Mattoo family was one of the lakhs of Kashmiri Pandit families forced to migrate from Srinagar in the early 1990s after terrorism spread its roots in the state. The family was just recovering from the trauma of relocation that the news of Priyadarshini’s death came. “At times we feel our sufferings in the Valley would have been far less,” she said.

Rajeshwari said she was even the more shocked that there was no remorse on the part of Santosh or his family. “No one ever apologised to us. When Santosh was stalking my daughter, I spoke to his mother over the phone but she expressed helplessness, saying her son was spoilt.”

Prof Mattoo said, “As a father, I wish he was hanged there and then when he was caught for the murder of my daughter. But as a citizen, I can only seek review of the SC verdict.”





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