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Justice for Mattoo: Nation appeals for justice

Celebrities, relatives and friends of Priyadarshini Mattoo on Sunday joined hundreds demanding justice for Mattoo.

india Updated: Jul 23, 2006 20:24 IST

Celebrities, relatives and friends of Priyadarshini Mattoo on Sunday joined hundreds across the country seeking justice 10 years after she was raped and murdered allegedly by an IPS officer's son who was acquitted in the case.

A large number of people, including actor Anupam Kher, Rajya Sabha MP Maneka Gandhi and motivational guru Shiv Khera, took part in a peace march in New Delhi on her 36th birthday on Sunday demanding retrial in the case.

Hundreds of people also took part in similar protests in Jammu, Mumbai and Puna.

Priyadarshini Mattoo was raped and murdered in 1996 allegedly by Santosh Kumar Singh, son of an IPS officer.

'Justice for Priyadarshini', a forum formed by civil society groups, submitted a memorandum to President APJ Abdul Kalam saying the acquittal of the accused in the case despite overwhelming evidence against him was a 'national shame'.

"A national re-awakening among the civilised society especially the youth is gathering storm," said the memorandum.

Raising slogans like 'justice delayed is justice denied' and 'care for those who don't form vote banks', they launched a signature campaign and resolved to continue their campaign till they get justice.

"It is time the authorities are awakened about such cases and I would like to request through the media that the accused who had been let-off in cases like this must be brought to book," Kher told reporters.

Maneka Gandhi said she will raise the issue in the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

Singh was acquitted by a trial court in 2000, with the Judge observing that "though I know he is the man who committed the crime, I acquit him, giving him the benefit of doubt".

Talking to NDTV in Jammu, Priyadarshini's father C NMattoo said "many functions are being held to seek justice. Every countryman knows that justice in her case has been delayed...We want a retrial in the case."

"We have got the support of 15 NGOs apart from several celebrities and public figures," said Aditya Raj, a volunteer of JFP.

President of the All India Kashmiri Samaj MK Kau said, "We will move on from the street protests and file a PIL seeking justice in the case. Our system has to be made more accountable so that such instances are not repeated."

The activists have also filed an application under the Right to Information Act seeking details of the progress made in the case by the CBI.