NEW DELHI: After a battle of seven years, justice has finally been served in the December 2012, Nirbhaya gang-rape case.
All the four convicts who committed the heinous crime - Vinay Sharma, Akshay Singh, Pawan Gupta, and Mukesh Singh - were hanged to death on Friday 5.30 am at Tihar jail.
After the hanging, jail authorities said, 'This is a historical day, as for the first time, four men have been executed in Tihar.'
'As soon as they were executed, I hugged my daughter's photo. Justice was delayed in this case, but not denied. Today all the women in India will be confident and happy because they too wanted them hanged. Women across the nation will safe now.' said Nirbhaya's mother Asha Devi.
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'I would like to request the government and my fellow citizens, to observe this day - March 20 - as 'Nyay Diwas', she added.
'Although my mind is at peace now, I will not sit quietly. My fight against for justice will continue. I also request the Supreme Court to set up guidelines to deliver quick justice in such cases. The court should set up guidelines where the gangrape culprits will get only one chance to file mercy petition. Also, we need more fast track courts,' Devi added.
The bodies of all the four convicts were brought down to the gallows after 30 minutes of hanging. As per rules, the bodies had to be kept hanging for 30 minutes before being lowered.
According to the jail officials, after the bodies were lowered, the medical officers confirmed their death.
'The bodies have been sent to Deen Dayal hospital for autopsy and postmortem. The procedure will begin from 8 am. A five-member panel headed by Dr BN Mishra will conduct the autopsies on the bodies. The autopsies will be video-graphed,' said one of the jail authority.
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Further, the officials added the lockdown imposed during the execution has been lifted. The jail in-charge also held a flag March inside the prison to ensure peace and order. As per protocol, the lockdown is imposed hours before the execution that took place at 5.30 am.
The 23- year old medical student was brutally gang-raped and murdered in a moving bus by six men, stripped naked and thrown out on the road on the chilly night of December 16 2012.
The incident was so brutal that it shocked the entire nation leading to protests in every city across the country.
On the day of the attack, Nirbhaya along with her male friend was waiting for a bus at Delhi's Munirka area after watching a movie. The two boarded a private run bus, where six men switched off all the lights, beat up the male victim and raped the 23-year-old brutally.
The convicts inserted an iron rod into her private parts which caused irreparable damage to her body and she succumbed to her injuries after struggling for 13 days.
There was a huge uproar in the nation that forced the government to bring amendments in rape laws in the Indian legal system.
The hangman, Pawan, who had reached Tihar Jail on Tuesday, three days before the hanging and conducted necessary dummy hangings, pulled the lever at the scheduled time.
The gangrape case created an uproar across the country, especially in Delhi where a large number of people came out on the streets, demanding justice for the victim, who was renamed as 'Nirbhaya' or the fearless.
On Friday, hundreds of people gathered outside Tihar jail, holding placards and banners and raising slogans in support of the hanging of the convicts. Security outside the jail had been tightened.
What happened to the six convicts?
All the convicts were arrested and kept in Tihar jail. One of the convict, Ram Singh, committed suicide by hanging himself inside his cell on March 2013.
The juvenile perpetrator was convicted of rape and murder and served three years in jail. He was released soon after he turned eighteen.
The other four convicts- Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma, and Mukesh Singh - were convicted of rape, kidnapping, murder in September 2013 by a 'fast track' trial in a Metropolitan Magistrates’ Court and were sentenced to death.
Changes made in the Indian legal system after Nirbhaya case:
In 2013, Nirbhaya fund was launched by the central government for women safety, security and empowerment.
The same year, an Act was passed by the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha-- the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, known as the Nirbhaya Act.