After seven long years, the justice to Nirbhaya has been delivered. With this, the seven-year battle draws to a close. Hailing the court’s decision to implement the death sentence of the rapists, her mother heaped praise on the court. The four men whose attack on the 23-year-old paramedical student had generated one of the most horrific headlines of the decade will be hanged at 7 am on January 22. Since the rapists have been sentenced to death, the parents of Nirbhaya have demanded its speedy implementation. The Supreme Court has already turned down review petitions by the three of the convicts and a mercy petition from a fourth has been turned down.
This reminds me of a movie on Netflix on this entire incidence called Delhi Crime. The movie stated lots of facts and once again the case was revived in people’s mind. Today, this judgement of hang till death will fortify people’s faith in the judiciary. Daughters of the country deserve justice.
One of the convicts, Pawan Kumar Gupta, had even claimed that he was a minor at the time of the crime. But the judge had dismissed it and imposed a Rs 25,000 fine on his lawyer for “playing hide-and-seek”. The convicts, though, have the option of filing a curative petition in court and a mercy petition.
After the Supreme Court dismissed the last review petition filed by Akshay Singh last month, Nirbhaya’s parents had asked a lower court to issue a death warrant but the judge had deferred a decision for Tuesday. Besides Mukesh and Akshay Singh the others in the death row are Vinay Sharma and Pawan Kumar Gupta. They, along with bus driver Ram Singh and a juvenile had gang raped and tortured the 23-year-old in a moving bus and threw her and her friend, naked and bleeding on the road. The young woman died at a hospital in Singapore after battling for life for 13 days. The juvenile, who was just a few months short of 18 years when the crime was committed, was kept at a reform home for three years and released. Ram Singh had committed suicide in jail. The brutality of the attack had shocked the country and led to change in laws where juveniles are involved in heinous crimes like rape and murder.
That day Nirbhaya and her male friend Awnindra had just finished watching a movie “Life of Pi”. It was a cold and dark night of December 16, 2012. As the 23-year-old physiotherapist intern and Awindra Pratap Pandey waited at Munirka in South Delhi looking for an auto-rickshaw to reach Nirbhaya’s home in Dwarka, an off-duty charter bus, with some male occupants including the driver stopped by and offered them a ride. Without looking at the bus or guessing any threat whatsoever both of them got in and sat in the second row of the bus on the window side. The bus moved in a direction which was off the route. The unwary friends noticed something was wrong as the doors of the vehicle had been shut tightly. And windows were covered with curtains.
Pandey, who spoke about the incident later objected? The movie Delhi Crime also emphasises the stupidity of Pandey for taking his girl friend in a bus that actually looked suspicious at the first place. He was hollered down. But he fought and a fight broke out as the men, who were drunk, began molesting Nirbhaya the name given to the woman later by the media, which means fearless. Nirbhaya’s friend was knocked down with an iron rod. And he too was manhandled and molested by one of those men in the bus, his clothes were taken off and he was made to sit nude. He was trying to reach Nirbhaya in the bus but his wounds were bleeding and he himself was not allowed to even get up from the place where he was thrown.
As Pandey lay half unconscious, the drunken men dragged Nirbhaya to the rear of the moving bus and took turns to rape her. As she fought back, one of the attackers – a juvenile – inserted a rusted, L-shaped rod – used with a wheel jack – into her private parts, pulling and ripping her intestines apart. Her medical reports later revealed that she had septic injuries on her abdomen and genital organs also. Done with the savagery, the attackers then threw the two out of the moving bus and even tried to run the vehicle over the half-naked blood-soaked woman but her friend pulled her aside on to the pavement.
After this brutality, what happened later shook the nation. It sparked off widespread protests and led many women to break their silence over sexual violence that goes widely unreported in the country. A passerby found the two laying half dead and informed the Delhi Police. Doctors at the Safdarjung Hospital found the woman with only five per cent intestines left inside her body. The crime triggered massive protests across the country. Angry young men and women took to the streets in Delhi. On December 21, thousands gathered at India Gate and Raisina Hill seeking justice for Nirbhaya as she battled for her life. The protests went on and on. Nirbhaya was born and brought up in Delhi to parents from an Uttar Pradesh village. Her friend survived after being treated for broken ribs.
The accused were quickly apprehended and identified as Ram Singh, Mukesh Singh, Vinay Gupta, Pawan Gupta, Akshay Thakur and a juvenile. Ram Singh, the bus driver, committed suicide in Tihar Jail during the trial. The juvenile was sent to a correction home and has been released since. The four others were sentenced to death in 2013 and the Supreme Court upheld their capital punishment on – four-and-a-half years after the incident. Finally in 2020, the court ordered that all the four convicts would be hanged on January 22 at 7 am.
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