People celebrate outside Tihar jail during the execution of four Nirbhaya convicts in New Delhi on Friday morning. (Right) Nirbhaya’s parents along with advocates Seema Kushwaha (2R), Jitendra Jha (L) and others celebrate at their house in Dwarka. (PTI)
Hard-won justice delivered in Nirbhaya gangrape
and murder case after more than seven years
Supreme Court holds an extraordinary hearing
that continued till 3.30 am
This is the first time that four covicts have
been hanged together in Tihar Jail
FOUR men convicted of gangraping and murdering a young Delhi woman, who came to be known as Nirbhaya, were hanged in pre-dawn darkness on Friday, finally delivering hard-won justice to her family and to a nation outraged by the brutality of the crime on a winter night more than seven years ago. Mukesh Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) were executed at 5.30 am in Tihar Jail. And the mother of the 23-year-old intern who was savagely assaulted on December 16, 2012 let out a sigh of relief that her quest for justice was over at last. “We finally got justice. We will continue our fight for justice for India’s daughters.
Justice delayed, but not denied,” Asha Devi told reporters at her home after a sleepless night that also saw the Supreme Court holding an extraordinary hearing that continued till 3.30 am. The horrific chapter which led to a tougher anti-rape law -- in India’s long history of assault ended on Friday. Nirbhaya was raped and brutalised by six men, including a juvenile at the time, in an empty bus that was driven through the streets of the national capital.
They then dumped her on the road and left her for dead on the cold winter night. Her friend who was with her was also severely beaten and thrown out along with her. She was so severely violated that her insides were spilling out when she was taken to hospital and died in a Singapore hospital after battling for her life for a fortnight. Of the six, Ram Singh allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail days after the trial began, and the juvenile was released in 2015 after spending three years in a correctional home. Recapping the details of the convicts’ last hours, a jail official said Vinay and Mukesh had dinner but none of the four had breakfast or a bath before they were led to the gallows.
“Vinay and Mukesh had their dinner properly on time. The meal comprised roti, dal, rice and sabzi. Akshay had tea in the evening but did not have dinner,” the official said. The four convicts showed no signs of anxiety in the evening, he added. Minutes before the execution, Mukesh said he would like to donate his organs while Vinay wanted his paintings, done during his years in jail, to be given to the jail superintendent and his ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ to his family, another official said. Jail officials said the bodies were kept hanging for half an hour, a mandatory procedure after execution in accordance with the prison manual. The bodies were taken to the DDU Hospital for post-mortem.
This is the first time that four men have been hanged together in Tihar Jail, South Asia’s largest prison complex that houses more than 16,000 inmates. The executions were carried out after the men exhausted every possible legal avenue to escape the gallows. Their desperate attempts only postponed the inevitable by less than two months after the first date of execution was set for January 22. In last-gasp attempts, one of the convicts knocked on the doors of the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court just hours before the hanging. A Supreme Court bench dismissed Pawan’s last plea in a late-night hearing that began at 2.30 am and lasted an hour. It also refused to pass any direction allowing Pawan and Akshay to meet their family members just before they are sent to the gallows. Outside Tihar Jail, hundreds of people gathered despite the unearthly hour and the coronavirus scare to await news of the execution. Cheers went up after the hanging with some waving the national flag and shouting slogans of ‘Long Live Nirbhaya’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and some distributing sweets.
Among the people who had gathered was social activist Yogita Bhayana who held a poster which read “Nirbhaya has got justice. The other daughters still await”. The road to the gallows was a long and circuitous one, going through the lower courts, the High Court, the Supreme Court and the president’s office before going back to the Supreme Court that heard and rejected various curative petitions. The death warrants were deferred by a court thrice on the grounds that the convicts had not exhausted all their legal remedies and that the mercy petition of one or the other was before the president. On March 5, a trial court issued fresh death warrants for March 20 at 5.30 am as the final date for the execution.
Justice done but fight to ensure speedy justice will continue: Nirbhaya’s family
NEW DELHI :
JUSTICE has been done finally and women will definitely feel safer now, Nirbhaya’s parents said after four men convicted of gangrape and murder of their daughter were executed on Friday, resolving that their next fight would be to plug the loopholes that delay punishment. Talking to reporters at her home in Dwarka in west Delhi, Nirbhaya’s mother Asha Devi said justice was delayed but not denied in the 2012 case. Her father Badrinath Singh said although his daughter has got justice, the family will now fight for daughters of the country and work to plug the loopholes in the rape laws.
“We will request the Supreme Court to issue guidelines so that no one can adopt delaying tactics in such cases in future,” the mother said, referring to the execution of death warrants being deferred thrice by a court on various grounds. “Justice has been delivered finally, but after much delay. Our fight to ensure timely justice to other such women victims will continue, and hope the system will ensure fast-tracked courts for speedy justice,” she said. She said women will definitely feel safer after this execution and it will also make parents teach boys to behave with women.
“After a long agonising wait, my daughter has got justice,” she said. “After the Supreme Court hearing last night, I came home and hugged a portrait of my daughter and told her - ‘beti nyay dila diya tumko’,” Asha Devi said, adding, “March 20 should be celebrated as Nirbhaya Nyay Diwas (day of justice). This day will be written in history books.” The father said the entire world knows Nirbhaya has finally got justice but he does not think everyone will. “Today, Nirbhaya has got justice and message has gone across the country that those who indulge in such heinous crimes will not be spared. But we need to take forward this struggle. We want to study the loopholes during our seven-year-long legal struggle,” he said. He said the family will consult their lawyers, well-wishers and other well-meaning people. “They will study the case and prepare a list of the loopholes in the system. We will give it to the government and tell them to make necessary changes,” the father added. “Our faith in Constitution or judicial system was getting shaken, but that trust has been restored. This hanging will send a stern warning to criminals to dare not commit such acts,” Asha Devi said. “My daughter will now rest in peace,” said the emotionally overwhelmed mother, appealing to all mothers to report sexual assault cases in family and society to support the daughters. Nirbhaya’s father said he and his wife haven’t slept a wink, awaiting justice. “We haven’t slept the whole night, running from high court to Supreme Court late night. But, finally, the moment has arrived. Our village in Ballia will now play Holi,” he told PTI outside their home. “Our wait for justice was painful and agonising. We appeal for observing this day as Nirbhaya Nyay Diwas,” he added. Women gathered outside the Dwarka home did a countdown as the time of the execution of the four convicts neared.
Justice has prevailed, says PM
Mar 20 (PTI)
THE execution of four men convicted of gangraping and murdering a young Delhi woman on Friday evoked reactions across the spectrum with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying justice has prevailed and his senior Cabinet colleagues and women groups welcoming the hanging. “Justice has prevailed. It is of utmost importance to ensure dignity and safety of women,” he said in a tweet, though there was no direct mention of the Nirbhaya case. “Our Nari Shakti has excelled in every field. Together, we have to build a nation where the focus is on women empowerment, where there is emphasis on equality and opportunity,” the PM said. Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani said the hanging will send out a strong message to criminals that they cannot escape the law. Reacting to the execution, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said it is a day to take a resolution to not allow another similar incident happen. Taking to Twitter, Kejriwal also called for a collective resolution by police, courts, States and the Central Government to remove loopholes in the system “to let this not happen” to any daughter again. Expressing satisfaction that “a daughter, who underwent so much pain, has got justice”, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said it was time for introspection by judiciary, the government and ensure that capital punishment convicts not be allowed to manipulate system to delay for 7 years. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said Nirbhaya has got Justice. “Let us always remember that anyone who outrages the dignity of women will not be forgiven. Let us create new India where every woman is respected and given equal opportunity,” he tweeted. National Commission for Women (NCW) chief Rekha Sharma said Nirbhaya can finally rest in peace as she finally got justice, and hoped that the hanging of the four gang rape and murder case convicts will act as a deterrent for others. Sharma said the case has revealed loopholes in the legal system which the four convicts took advantage of. Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal termed the execution as a victory of the country. “This is the victory of whole country. We have to now create a strong system,” she said in a tweet. However, Amnesty International India said that the death penalty is never the solution towards ending violence against women, calling the execution a “dark stain” on India’s human rights record. Cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir tweeted “Hanged till death! Finally! I know we are late Nirbhaya.” BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia said at last, justice prevailed for Nirbhaya. “A moment to introspect for the nation. Also sends out a stern message - crimes of violence against women are not just unacceptable, but will also be dealt with to fullest extent of the law!,” he tweeted.