NEW DELHI: In a brave homage to her daughter, the mother of the December 16 gangrape victim today took her name in public, and said people who commit heinous crimes like rape should hang their heads in shame and not the victims or their families.
The 23-year-old paramedical student was brutally sexually assaulted on the ill-fated night of December 16 three years ago, and died 13 days later, triggering a massive public outrage. Among many, her spirit continued to live, and in tribute she was given the name 'Nirbhaya' or brave heart.
But, today on the third anniversary of the infamous incident that shocked the entire world, the victim's mother Asha Devi, in a display of extraordinary courage, took her daughter's name in public. "My daughter's name was......and I am not ashamed to name her. Those who commit heinous crimes like rape, their heads should hang in shame, not the victims or their families. You should take her name too," she said at 'Nirbhaya Chetna Diwas' here, a public event organised by women's and citizens groups at the Jantar Mantar to mark the anniversary.
The parents of the girl, Asha Devi and Badri Singh Pandey also demanded that juvenile convict, allegedly the most brutal" of the six offenders, and scheduled to be released on December 20, should not be released, citing he was a threat to the city.
"On the third death anniversary of our death, we are seeing the release of the juvenile convict. Where is justice in that? I do not know whether he is 16 or 18. I only know that he has committed a brutal crime and there should be no age limit for punishment," Asha said.
She also put forth four demands from a public platform that the five accused including the juvenile convict should be sentenced to death, fast-track courts be set up in all the courts to offer speedy justice to sexual assault victims, amendments to the Juveniles Justice Act be passed and utilisation of Nirbhaya Fund for setting up high quality forensic labs in all states.
Celebrities like Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Delhi Congress chief spokesperson Sharmistha Mukherjee, and various women's groups had gathered at the Jantar Mantar to pay homage to the girl and agreed that it was the certainty of justice which can bring about a change.
The Jantar Mantar street after the incident had virtually turned into a public memorial for her, with people flocking in from all parts of the city to light up a candle or offer a prayer in her memory, with many moved to tears, recalling the brutality the young girl was subjected to.
Today also, candle light vigils, prayer meetings and a series of other events marked three years of the heinous gangrape and death of the girl, that left the nation benumbed.
The father of girl said there was a lack of political will to do anything to enhance the safety and security for women.
"The government was supposed to carry out major activities like deploying more policemen and installing CCTV cameras aimed at stepping up security and safety for women in the city but nothing has been done.
"The government has money but not the will to do anything to enhance the safety and security for women," he said.