Will Sameer Mapari be Goa’s Jessica Lal?

Open Edit / Sujay Gupta March 02, 2013

Two deaths, eight years apart. One of model Jessica Lal in the posh Tamarind Court restaurant in the refurbished Qutub Colonnade with a view of the historic Qutub Minar in Delhi in April 1999. The other of Sameer Mapari, allegedly in a farm house, or in the middle of a desolate tributary of a river in Goa. It’s a connect which isn’t easy. But here in Goa, a parallel between Tamarind Court and Curchorem, between Jessica Lal and Sameer Mapari, between the son of a powerful Haryana minister and the brother of a former Goa industries minister, is the only glimmer of hope, the last straw that a frail broken mother of Xelvona has.

A parallel that she has no idea about, but we who live in Goa and call this our land must draw to bring justice to a killed son of our soil. Rajesh and Balesh Desai are free and declared innocent by the court. So were Jessica Lal’s killers, till an India that rejected this judicial order of a lower court fought back with all its might, helped by a TV channel that went on a mission, not of journalism but of humanity. In ten months, the people of India managed to turn a lower court acquittal into a High Court conviction. In less than a further four years, a High Court conviction was affirmed by Supreme Court finality. Jessica Lal’s killers are in jail today and will be there for life. Should public outcry and media pressure for the sake of humanity be the preserve of Delhi alone? When a young girl is raped and brutalised, all of Delhi became a theatre of protest. Justice for Jessica became a liet motif of an outraged India which told the judiciary “We don’t accept your verdict because that’s not the truth.” Justice for Sameer Mapari should be a corner stone for a young Goa that wants its future secure, for a Goa where civility and law triumph. We respect the judiciary and realise that it went on facts on record. But we sure are declaring that this fi ght isn’t over. No, not by a long shot. Justice for Jessica is our inspiration because it turned everything from investigation to interpretation of evidence on its head through a process of re- investigation, helped by an incisive media.

This state must appeal and must give strength to the family of Sameer to appeal. The state should go back to the drawing board and get every loophole covered. We too promise to do the same. Bring on the threats, defamation suits and power play. The fight for Justice for Sameer Mapari starts now.

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