a verdict of hope

The Jessica Lal verdict is out. It took a long time coming. Wonder why as she was shot in a place filed with Delhi's own page 3.

For seven years we were almost mute witnesses to a mockery of justice where the entire system connived to save the killer who was a is said in today's parlance well connected. Muscle and money power went to town and after six years or so those who had brutally ended a young life were set free for want of evidence!

Jessica was not a known person but she suddenly became the girl next door and somehow a city felt threatened. That is when civil society woke up from a long slumber to show its might. And it dis. Notwithstanding political connections or arm twisting of any kind, the existing machinery set out to redress a wrong and it did. Even the last ditch effort of a high profile lawyer who took the now jaded route of turning the victim into an accused failed miserably. The killer was found guilty. Jessica can now rest in peace.

This case has restored one's faith in the judicial system but it has done more than that. It has shown that civil society is a force to reckon with. True that J's case was a high profile one, that she had a spirited sister who refused to give up and give in. But this whole fight will come to naught if we as a society do not realise that our role goes beyond high profile cases. We today have the proof that we have the power to change things, to redress torts and thus to make a difference but with it comes to responsibility of reaching out to those who are invisible, and remain voiceless.

There are many unknown Jessicas who have been abused or killed. There are numerous families who hope for justice but do not know how to get it. There are many killers at large who are protected by the system. They need civil society to take on their cases and see that justice is done.

Let the Jessica Lal verdict be a verdict of hope, a verdict that makes us believe that things can change, one that rids us of our inertia and drives us to act. Then maybe the little Ghaziabad girls too will get justice they so deserve!

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