A Delhi court has issued a death warrant against the four convicts in the heinous Nirbhaya gang rape of 2012. Akshay Thakur Singh, Mukesh, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma were found guilty in the 2012 gang-rape, torture and killing of a young medical student in Delhi. The four heard of the court’s decision in a video conference. “This judgement will reinforce people’s faith in the judiciary. My daughter will get justice,” said Nirbhaya’s mother, who had petitioned the court for a death warrant, saying she had waited seven years for justice.

The 23-year-old paramedic student, Jyoti Singh was gang-raped, tortured with an iron rod and her intestines culled out on a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16, 2012. She was then dumped on a road, naked and bleeding. She died on December 29. The country saw its biggest upheaval and street protests against women’s safety that year. 

Also read: Seven Years Of Nirbhaya Gangrape Case: Justice Nowhere In Sight

Jyoti Yadav was named “Nirbhaya (fearless)”, after her death and her parents took on the campaign to get her justice. Asha Devi and Badrinath, organised Nirbhaya Chetna Diwas every year in their unfailing demand for justice for their daughter. They are relieved today. Nirbhaya’s father, Badrinath Singh, also expressed relief. “It was a long journey, I am happy with the verdict,” he said.

Nirbhaya rapists to be hanged
Nirbhaya rapists to be hanged, Picture after verdict, NDTV

The convicts have 14 days to use their final legal options, including a curative petition before the Supreme Court. Tihar jail officials will write to Uttar Pradesh Prisons department to seek the service of a hangman and to inform them about the date and time of execution of all the four convicts as decided by the court.

“Decision will restore people’s faith in judiciary, act as deterrent to crime against women,” noted an official statement from NCW on death warrants against Nirbhaya convicts. Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) head Swati Maliwal said, “It’s a victory for every citizen of the country, I salute the mother who kept fighting for the past seven years,” she said. “I would also like to thank the judges. Such rapists should be brought to justice in six months.”

In an earlier interview with SheThePeople, Nirbhaya cop Chhaya Sharma shared her views on death penalty. “Personally, I feel capital punishment must be given for rarest of rare cases.  It should be an exemplary punishment and to exhibit the state’s response to rapists. However, the final call lies with the Hon’ble Supreme Court.”

Ranjana Kumari of Centre of Social Research said it took too long for the judgment. “The legal battle is won. This legal system should be reviewed if the judiciary is serious about safety of women in the nation because if we have 117,000 rape cases pending in different courts and this is the kind of timeframe we are looking at, then the law will never become a deterrent for such crimes.”

On the legal choices that the convicts have left with the rapists, she said, “All said and done and we are extremely angry but when you look at four people’s lives being taken away by the state so naturally, every option has to be weighed on and justice has to be seen to be done and not just done.”

Sunita Singh, Asha Devi’s sister said, “This is a very happy moment for us because the hanging, in this case, will change the scenario in our society in terms of how crimes against women are looked into. All the girls who have been wronged have been waiting for justice along with us and they would also find hope with this hanging and all the criminals will realize that they cannot run away free after committing such heinous crimes. They will get punishment even if it is delayed.”

Talking about the seven years, it has taken for justice to be served, she said that it has been a real struggle for the family. “We may have got justice but it has come at a huge cost of everyday struggle. But today we feel at peace that our struggle bore fruits of justice. We now wait for the day of execution, there will be no limits to our happiness which we will get after those rapists will be hanged.”

Jyoti Singh Pandey died from the internal injuries inflicted by the accused. The case had rocked the nation and thrown into sharp focus, the dismal level of safety of women in the national capital. The protests spread across the nation and had brought in new laws into place to further safeguard women from sexual assault via the Justice Verma commission.
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