It finally happened, today. The four convicts in the Delhi gang-rape and murder case were hanged at 5:30 am, in Tihar jail. The repeated dismissal of death warrants, the unending petitions filed by the convicts to have their death sentence commuted had left the nation spent and disillusioned. I would believe it when they are hanged, I remember reading someone’s comment below a news piece last night, and that was exactly was what I thought. But now that the sentence has been carried out, do we as a society feel vindicated? Can the hanging of Jyoti Singh's convicts be called a victory for the Indian society and justice system? Do we close this chapter and move on now?
- Seven years after the crime was committed, Jyoti Singh's rapists and murderers have been hanged this morning.
- Will this hanging count as a victory of Indian society and the justice system?
- Do we close the chapter on the Nirbhaya case and move on?
- Do women in India feel anymore safer today than they did when this crime happened?
Can Nirbhaya convicts’ hanging be called a victory for the Indian society and the justice system? Do we close this chapter and move on now?
I’ll admit that I had played out this scenario in my head many times. How would I feel, as a woman who still carried a fear of empty buses and the city of Delhi in her heart, or as a mother raising a young daughter, when these four convicts were finally dead? There is a sense of joy yes, because the need for vengeance that we have all managed to preserve since 2012 overrides every argument against death sentences, the right to live, of even those who committed the most heinous of crimes. There was no question about it, these men deserved to rot in jail and dread every day they lived. But now they are dead, so what now?
Once we are done celebrating their execution, forwarding messages and memes on WhatsApp to our heart’s content, do we forget this case altogether and move on? No. This case needs to be a wound that never heals for us. We must remember that this brutal gang-rape and murder case shouldn’t have happened in the first place. We must never forget that no girl, no parent deserves the ordeal that Jyoti Singh and her family went through. That it shouldn’t have taken seven years to carry out justice.
Don’t close the chapter on Jyoti’s case just yet. Remember her, what she went through and the many survivors of sexual crimes out there awaiting justice.
Do women of this country feel anymore safer today than they felt when this incident happened? Have we stopped the character assassination of women who face sexually assault? Why was she out so late? Why was she with that boy? Why was she wearing that dress? We have still not changed our attitude to victim-blaming and shaming. We are still not asking why do Indian men feel entitled to women’s bodies? How has each one of us aided in shaping the rape culture so prevalent in our nation? Why does rape fail to move us these days unless it is a crime so repulsive that it jolts us?
Jyoti is gone. Her culprits are gone. But we are here with these questions. So don’t close the chapter on Jyoti’s case just yet. Remember her, what she went through and the many survivors of sexual crimes out there awaiting justice. Let us pledge to not give up on these women and every girl in this country and keep looking for answers.
The views expressed are the author's own.