May 28, 2008 will be a historic day for the Katara family. The Patiala court in Delhi has held Vikas and Vishal Yadav guilty for the murder of Nitish Katara. Nitish Katara was found dead on Feb. 17, 2002. Apparently, somebody had murdered him, and later burnt his body. The needle of suspicion was on Vikas and Vishal Yadav, and within a few days, they were taken into police custody. From that day onwards began a six year battle for justice, spearheaded by the victim’s mother, Neelam Katara.
The only person who had last seen Nitish Katara in a car with the Yadav brothers was his cousin, Aditya. A fact hard to believe, but this eye-witness was the only weapon with which the Katara family has been fighting their case for the last six years. The court will decide on the quantum of punishment on May 30 – expect nothing less than life imprisonment or a death sentence. While watching Neelam Katara talk to the media, one thing struck me more than anything else – the calm and composed way with which she was answering questions. For someone who had to not only endure the loss of her son to cold-blooded murder, but also face all sorts of threats and difficulties for the past 6 years, Neelam Katara comes across as an immensely strong woman who refused to go down without a fight. An emotional Nitin Katara (Nitish’s brother) said, “With the verdict, our faith in the Judiciary has been vindicated.” If we look at both the Jessica Lall and Nitish Katara murder cases, we will notice something strikingly similar between the two. For one, both families had to fight hard and excruciatingly long battles for justice. Also, both were up against powerful people, who had all the money and influence to get away with their heinous crimes. I would like to add something else here as well. Vikas Yadav is the son of D.P. Yadav, who happens to be a politician. Furthermore, Vishal Yadav is D.P. Yadav’s nephew. Well I ask, why do sons, daughters, cousins etc. of influential individuals like politicians think they can get away with anything? People like them no longer fear the law. The Yadavs killed Nitish because they did not approve of his relationship with Bharti Yadav, Vikas’s sister. Is that supposed to be their justification for murder, abduction and destruction of evidence? The media has definitely played a pivotal role in ensuring justice for the Katara family. I feel that since Jessica Lall’s murder case, the media has been campaigning on behalf of such victims with a vengeance. Be it Jessica Lall, Aarushi Talwar or Nitish Katara, intensive coverage of these cases has definitely put pressure on the police and the Judiciary to ensure speedy justice. It is in such times that we realize the power of the “freedom of expression”. Nitin Katara had also mentioned as to how people from all over the country, had called them or sent letters expressing their condolences and support for the Katara family. This definitely reinforces our faith in our countrymen and is something that each Indian should be proud of. However, let us not forget the woman who did not lose hope in the Judiciary, media as well as the aam janta. If it wasn’t for Neelam Katara’s fearlessness and her sacrifices, Vikas and Vishal Yadav would have been free men a long time ago. She is truly a great source of inspiration for all of us. The six years that she had spent in anxiety, doubt and a sense of loss have not gone waste. As Neelam Katara herself said, “Nitish’s soul will finally rest in peace.” Anam Mittra