Her favourite son is awaiting the gallows. She wants a last meeting but knows that it is beyond her physical strength and financial means to travel hundreds of kilometres from a remote village in Uttarakhand to Meerut.
Though Nithari serial killings convict Surinder Koli miraculously cheated death on Monday with an unprecedented post-midnight verdict by the country’s top court that stayed his execution by a week, it was no consolation for his mother Kunti Devi.
“I know the outcome even if the matter has been stayed for a week,” she told HT. Kunti, 68, last saw Koli in 2006 at her house in Mangrukhal village, near Corbett Tiger Reserve, some 250 kms from Dehradun.
Since then, all she has of the favourite of her four sons, is a photograph.
“I just have this photograph of my son and still awaiting a last meeting with him. I wish I could meet him for the last time somehow. But I cannot travel as I have never moved out of my village,” she said, choking on tears.
“Police and some other people used to come here in relation to the case.
Last, when they arrived here around one-and-a-half-months back, they brought a letter and said that the mercy petition of Surinder has been rejected by the President.
They wanted me to sign the letter but I did not. Why should I put my thumb impression over the paper which is for hanging of my son,” she told HT.
Ever since Koli’s name was associated with Nithari killings, his three brothers — Chandan, Mangtu and Anand, who works with private firms in Delhi — have stopped coming home. With nothing to sustain them, Koli’s wife also left with her two children, leaving Kunti alone. The ailing Kunti now survives on food and help from other villagers.
“I don’t know what transpired in Noida. But I know that if my son had some involvement in the crime, his employer was even more responsible. If my son is hanged, Pandher should also be hanged.
Why he should be let off and my son be made a scapegoat and hanged?” she asked. On Monday, Koli’s childhood friend and village head Anand Ram received a radiogram. It said that family members can meet Koli by September 12.
“Why should a mother be denied last meeting with her son? She is not well and faints often. Keeping her health in mind, we decided against her visiting Meerut. One person from Muzaffarnagar had come and offered to take her along to Meerut. But nobody else is ready to accompany her, fearing the stigma attached to the case,” Ram said. “We don’t know if Koli is executed, how his dead body will arrive here. We have made no arrangements,” Ram said.
According to Dasna jail officials, where Koli had been lodged before being moved to Meerut, no person from his family has ever visited him in the jail.
While he was being shifted to Meerut from Dasna jail on September 4, Koli told HT that he wanted to meet his family but despite efforts he could not.
SHM Rizvi, senior superintendent of Meerut Jail, said the jail administration has made arrangements to arrange Surinder’s meeting with his relatives or mother.
“Although we haven’t received any word formally (on the meeting) so far,” Rizvi told HT over phone.
The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the execution of Koli, who had confessed to killing and eating the flesh of several children at a house in Noida’s Nithari village, after he moved an urgent plea for his review petition to be heard in open court.
A three-judge bench held a hearing at 1.40am to stay the execution of Koli’s death sentence in the Rimpa Halder murder case.
(With Inputs from Anupam Trivedi and Chandan Bangari in Dehradun)