Seven years after being convicted of the murder and gang rape of a student in Delhi, four Indian men were executed, Friday.
The convicted rapists Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta, and Mukesh Singh, who were sentenced to death back in 2013 after raping a student in 2012 were hanged in Delhi's High-Security Tihar prison, in the first execution in India since 2015.
The rape and murder of the student caused outrage in the country and led to new anti-rape laws to be passed.
The victim died due to the injuries she sustained days after she was raped by six men aboard a moving bus in 2012. To this day, the victim remains unnamed due to Indian law, but the 23-year-old physiotherapy student was dubbed by the press as Nirbhaya or the fearless one.
Initially, there were six people who were arrested for the crime. However, one of them, Ram Singh was found dead in jail in March of 2013. According to reports, he committed suicide after being convicted. The other one was released in 2015 after serving only three years in a reform facility, since he was only 17 years old when the attack happened and that is the maximum term possible for juvenile felons in India.
In the past months, the convicts still filed petitions to the Supreme Court of India to reduce their sentences from death to life imprisonment. However, despite their constant pleas, the court rejected their bidding and stood by its original decision.
Execution restored faith in the justice system
Just minutes after the convicts were hanged, the victim's mother said that she hugged a photo of her daughter, telling her that she finally got the justice that she deserve. Moreover, the victim's father also expressed how the execution, although it took a long time, restored his faith on the country's judiciary system.
Outside the prison where the men were executed, police and military personnel were deployed in order to maintain law and order. Before the execution, a group of people flocked outside the prison holding their placards which demand justice for Nirbhaya. There were also chants of "death to rapists" that were heard. The crowd then erupted into cheers when the executions were announced.
Upon announcement of the execution, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that justice has prevailed in the country. Also adding that the country has to work on building a nation which focuses on women empowerment.
Justice has prevailed.
It is of utmost importance to ensure dignity and safety of women.
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. — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 20, 2020
The Story of Nirbhaya
Around 8:30 PM on December 16,2012, the student boarded an off-duty bus along with her male friend. They were returning home from the mall after watching a movie.
When they got on board, the couple was approached by six men who were already on the bus. The men then beat up her friend, took turns on raping the woman and assaulted her with an iron rod. When they were done with their assault, the men tossed the couple onto the roadside and left them for dead. That is where they were found by passers-by naked and bloodied and then called the police.
Two weeks later, the attack was in the headlines and sparked widespread protests that demanded India to rethink their treatment of women. Nirbhaya died in a hospital in Singapore, where she was transferred for further treatment after she got worse in a Delhi hospital.