The whole area from India Gate to Vijay Chowk was flooded with protesters on December 22, 2012. (Photo Credit: News Nation/PTI)
The wait for justice for Nirbhaya is finally over. The legal battle that lasted seven years, three months and four days ended with the execution of all four convicts - Mukesh (31), Pawan (24), Vinay (25), and Akshay (33) - in Tihar jail on Friday morning. The case saw several twists and turns in the last seven years.
A case that seemed open and shut was dragged for seven years as the convicts' legal counsel AP Singh used every possible judicial loophole to delay the execution. From the lower court to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Singh left no stone unturned to prolong the legal battle.
On the other hand, Nirbhaya’s parents- Asha Devi and Badrinath Singh- also fought tooth and nail for justice.
The whole case will be subject of legal case study for years to come as it exposed the weaknesses of the legal procedure in our justice system. The Nirbhaya case might be legally ended here but it is a half-fought battle socially. The case remains an open question for the entire society. A case that shook the nation and triggered a mass movement still took seven years to come to conclusion. Just imagine what would be the fate of the many cases that don't get the same attention from media or the masses.
Seeing the case as just a study in law or a hard-fought legal battle wouldn't be doing justice with it. This case also created a social moment. It burns bright into the hearts of the social activists and thousands of youths who participated in the movement. Those who bravely fought against then government and police have stories to tell. They remember how they forced those in power to care, think, act and legislate.
I also have memories to share. I won't forget the moment when I braced the water-canon and faced lathicharge by police for the first time. It was a chilly morning in Delhi on December 22 in 2012, when thousands of youths thronged outside the Rashtrapati Bhavan. I was a student of mass communication at that time. I, along with my friends Rituka Negi, Nishi Choudhary, and Vishal Gahlot, was at Vijay Chowk to join the ongoing fight for justice.
The scene there was beyond our imagination. The whole area from India Gate to Vijay Chowk was flooded with protesters. We all were demanding a statement from then-President Pranab Mukherjee. However, the President did not seem to notice the agitating youth staging protests outside his residence. We raised anti-police, anti-government slogans for hours. Seeing no response from the authorities, we decided to break the police barricades and storm towards the President House.
As we marched ahead, police resorted to lathicharge and started firing tear gas. I was in the first row. As we reached near the entrance of the President House, police turned the mouth of water canon toward us. I and few of my fellow protesters sat down on the road. Suddenly, I heard the sound of an explosion. I saw a girl fell on the ground after the tear gas cell injured her leg. Rituka and few others took her to an ambulance. Police managed to vacate the area by using force in which several students got injured.
It was a first for me. I had never countered such a stir against the authorities. I don’t know how I got the courage to act like a rebel against my government. Maybe the thousand voices around me at the Vijay Chowk gave me the courage. It was one of a kind historical movement in India.
More than seven years later, when I was on the way to office at 4 am on Friday morning, those electrifying memories echoed in my mind. Not only as a journalist but also as a citizen of India, I had a relief that justice is finally served.
The Battle Must Not End Here
The battle for justice for the rape victim has legally ended. However, socially the battle is yet to finish because the objective of the 'Nirbhaya movement' was not only getting justice for one victim but also ending crimes against women from the root. The society at large must introspect on how to remove the patriarchal mindset which leads to such crimes.
Disclaimer: The opinions and facts expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. They do not reflect the views of News Nation. The NNPL does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.