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Nithari victims’ relatives pray for speedy justice
Published on 29 Dec. 2009 11:39 PM IST
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A prayer meeting was held at Nithari village here Tuesday, three years after the discovery of the gruesome killings of at least 19 young girls and boys, allegedly by businessman Moninder Singh Pandher and his domestic help Surinder Kohli. About 50 families, including those of the victims, gathered a few metres from Pandher's bungalow -- D-5 in Noida's Sector 31 -- where all the killings took place. "We held a prayer meeting here at 10 a.m., paying tributes to those killed in Nithari and seeking death punishment for Pandher and Kohli," activist Satish Chander Mishra told IANS. Much to the shock of the victims' families, Pandher, who along with Kohli was sentenced to death by the special trial court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) this February, was acquitted by the Allahabad High court in the rape and murder of 14-year-old Rimpa Halder in September. The high court, however, upheld Kohli's death sentence. "My daughter's soul will rest in peace only after these men are hanged and I will fight for it till the end," Anil Haldar, Rimpa's father, told IANS. Rimpa was among 19 children and young women whose skeletal remains were first discovered from a sewer behind Pandher's bungalow. Millions across the country and abroad were horrified as police Dec 29, 2006, began uncovering the remains of children and young women from a drain next to businessman Pandher's house in Nithari on the outskirts of the Indian capital. "We want the court to take the Nithari killing cases on priority basis. Three years have gone but decision has come in only one of the 19 cases," said Pappu, the father of another victim. Lokesh Batra, who has filed 15 Right to Information (RTI) applications on the killings, said: "Over the last three years all fact-finding missions that have gone into the matter using RTI have found that authorities concerned have fallen short of their responsibility." "Despite public agitation and several lines of inquiry, there has been no progress in bringing these culprits to justice, even after the intervention of the CBI. They are getting away scot free and justice has not been done to the victims' families," said Batra, who Dec 22 filed a fresh RTI over the Nithari killings.

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