Mukesh Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) had exhausted every possible legal avenue to escape the gallows (Photo Credit: Composite Image)
Nirbhaya - the 23-year-old woman who was gang-raped and brutally assaulted in Delhi leading to her death seven years ago - finally got justice as four men convicted of the brutal crime were hanged to death at Tihar jail on early Friday morning. Mukesh Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) were executed at 5.30 am on Friday morning. The hanging that took place in the darkness of pre-dawn marked the conclusion of a case that shook India's soul and may have lasting impact on its legal system.
The 23-year-old paramedic student who came to be known as 'Nirbhaya' was gang-raped and brutally assaulted on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012 in a moving bus in south Delhi by six people before she was thrown out on the road. Her friend who was with her was also severely beaten and thrown out along with her. She was so severely violated that she died in a Singapore hospital after battling for her life for a fortnight. Six people, including the four convicts and the juvenile, were named as accused.
While one of the accused Ram Singh allegedly committed suicide in the Tihar Jail days after the trial began in the case, another was found to be a juvenile at the time of the crime. He was released in 2015 after spending three years in a correctional home.
After the execution, Nirbhaya's mother told reporters that justice has finally been done and women will definitely feel safer now. "We will request the Supreme Court to issue guidelines so that no one can adopt delaying tactics in such cases in future," she said at her house.
"Our wait for justice was painful and agonising. We appeal for observing this day as Nirbhaya 'Nyay Diwas' (day of justice)," Nirbhaya's father said.
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. They were hanged at 5.30 am, Director General of Prison Sandeep Goel said.
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. (With Agency Inputs)