IF PUBLIC outrage, quiet candlelit vigils and media campaign could force the police to reopen the Jessica Lall case, then why not the Priyadarshini Mattoo case?
A decade after Priyadarshini, a law student, was allegedly raped and murdered in south Delhi, her 71-year-old father Chaman Lal Mattoo makes a case for a retrial.
"Please take up my daughter's case the way you took up Jessica's," Mattoo told the media on Wednesday. "As in Jessica's case, there are sufficient grounds to conduct a retrial. I still have faith in the system."
Asking the CBI to take a fresh look at the evidence, Mattoo said observations made by the trial court in 1999 pointed to the need for a retrial. While acquitting the main accused, Santosh Kumar, for want of evidence, the judge had said, ''I know that he is the man who committed the crime. I acquit him, giving him the benefit of doubt.''
Frail and feverish after his first press conference, Mattoo met politicians to get support for his case. He has already sent petitions to President A.P. J. Abdul Kalam and CJI Y.K. Sabharwal. "This is not only my daughter's case. We also need to do something against those who commit atrocities against women," said Mattoo, four days before his daughter's birthday.
Meanwhile, Priyadarshini's friends and activists have started a campaign, Justice for Priyadarshini, and filed an application under the Right to Information Act, seeking details of the progress. "I'm hopeful we'll get justice," said Mattoo.