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Sigh of relief in Nithari after court orders death

The Nitahri village erupted in celebrations as the CBI court awarded death penalty to both Pandher and Koli. Kapil Datta & Peeyush Khandelwal report.

india Updated: Feb 13, 2009 23:52 IST

For about five hours on Friday, life came to a standstill in Nithari as residents of the village stayed glued to the television sets.

The village that grabbed headlines in 2006 after the Nithari killings came to light was waiting for the news of the sentence by the CBI court in the Rimpa Halder case.

The court had, on Thursday, passed a verdict pronouncing both Moninder Singh Pandher and Surendra Koli guilty in the case.

At 3 pm, the village erupted in celebrations. The CBI court had awarded death penalty to both Pandher and Koli.

At their one-room rented house, 18-year-old Abhijeet Halder, brother of Rimpa, could hardly contain his joy. Speaking to Hindustan Times, he said, “We were running from pillar to post for over two years to get justice. Finally our efforts have paid off. Justice has been delivered,” he said.

In the last one year, the Halders had made numerous trips to the CBI and the local police to get justice.

“The CBI tried its best to spare Pandher. But the order has restored not only ours but the whole nation's faith in the Judiciary. How will CBI officials show their face now?” said Abhijeet.

Neighbours and friends of the Halders too were happy. Surjo, neighbour of the Halder family, said, “Anything less than death penalty would not have satisfied us. We are happy for all the families of Nithari who lost their children,” she said.

The scene was similar at the house of another Nithari victim Harsh.

“Though I have lost my child, I feel at peace today. God only knows how I have suffered all these years,” said his mother Poonam.

Sunita Devi, mother of another Nithari victim Jyoti, said, “After our daughter's death, we stopped celebrating Diwali. We will celebrate it now,” she said.

First Published: Feb 13, 2009 23:47 IST