Hailing the Supreme Court’s decision to award 25-year jail term to convicts in the Nitish Katara murder case, the victim’s mother Neelam Katara on Monday termed the verdict as her “biggest victory”.
“If you see quantum of the punishment, we had asked for death penalty and five years have been reduced quantitatively. It is not any shoe or slipper we are talking about here but the body of my son which was destroyed, so even if I demand 10 more years of imprisonment for him , it should not be a big deal..it is justified,” she told reporters.
Neelam Katara, who has battled hard for justice, however, said she was satisfied that the court had upheld many more years of punishment for her son’s killers than the 14 years usually awarded in a life sentence.
“Qualitatively I am happy that the Supreme Court has not taken it as just another murder case as it wasn’t a normal murder but a well planned case of honour killing by power drunk rich people and thus 14-years of life imprisonment was not awarded by the SC.
“Vikas Yadav won’t get remission before 25 years is my biggest victory. It is also a big thing for the youth of the country as the Supreme Court has taken a stand,” she added. Nitish Katara, a 25-year-old executive, was kidnapped and burnt to death in Ghaziabad near Delhi in 2002. He was dating Bharti Yadav, the daughter of a politician DP Yadav. Nitish and Bharti were at a wedding when Katara was abducted by Bharti’s brother Vikas Yadav and their cousin Vishal.
The High Court had called it an “honour killing” and said the crime was in the “rarest of rare category,” awarding the convicts the lengthy prison term. But it refused to award them the death sentence, saying the possibility of their reformation and rehabilitation is not “unforseeably foreclosed”.
The top court had last year upheld the conviction of the three men, observing that “only criminals are crying for justice” in this country. But it had also rejected a petition by Neelam Katara that they be given the death penalty. In its ruling on Monday, the Supreme Court awarded 25 years of imprisonment each to Vikas Yadav and Vishal Yadav. The apex court has also sentenced their associate Sukhdev Pehalwan to 20 years in prison.