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Nirbhaya finally gets justice: All four convicts executed in Tihar Jail

Hours before their execution, the Supreme Court dismissed their final petition in a hearing, held after midnight, bringing the curtains down on a 7-year-old case that had left the nation in shock

Kanishka Gupta  |  New Delhi 

After 7 long years of wait, India on Friday executed all four convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case in Tihar Jail at 5: 30 am in the morning.

The hanging came after rejected their mercy pleas, presented after they were dismissed by the apex court.

Here's the latest on the Nirbhaya case, which finally came to an end with the execution of the four convicts.

But before we begin, here’s what happened on 16th December, 2012 and days after.

A 23-year-old physiotherapy student, who was accompanied by her friend, was brutally raped and then murdered by six people, including a juvenile, inside a moving bus.

Within a few days, all the convicts were arrested and were put on trial by a fast-track court set up by the Delhi High Court especially for the case. However, on March 11, 2013, Ram Singh, one of the accused was found hanging in his Tihar jail cell.

Meanwhile, the victim was transferred to Singapore for better health care, where despite all efforts and weeks after battling for life, she finally succumbed to her injuries.

This led to large public protests against the state and central governments, who were accused of failing to keep women safe.

A juvenile, who was among the accused, was convicted by a Juvenile Justice Board and was released from a reformation home after serving a three-year term, while the remaining four were sentenced to death by a Delhi fast-track court on Sep 13, 2013.

Meanwhile, days after the shameful event, on December 24, the government announced the setting up of a committee to suggest amendments in law for speedy trials and enhanced punishment for criminals in rape cases. A change to hasten the otherwise slow process of justice.

Since Indian laws do not allow publishing a rape victim's name, the victim was given the name 'Nirbhaya' which means "fearless", and her struggle became a symbol of women's resistance to rape around the world.

Çoming back to the recent events that finally brought justice to Nirbhaya.

In the past few months, the four convicts had filed multiple petitions, managing to stall their execution thrice.

In fact, one of the convicts’ lawyer pleaded, "Send them to the India-Pakistan border, send them to Doklam, but don't hang them."

A Supreme Court bench had also asked the Centre to consider the fervent request of the convicts' lawyer that family members of Pawan Gupta and Akshay Singh be allowed to meet them for 5-10 minutes before the hanging. The request was, however, denied with Solicitor General Tushar Mehta saying that while painful, the jail manual did not allow convicts to meet family members just before the hanging.

Hours before their execution, the Supreme Court dismissed their final petition in a hearing, held after midnight, bringing the curtains down on a 7-year-old case that had left the nation in shock. In a bid to stave off the final fate, the convicts had petitioned the Delhi High Court, where their lawyer cited coronavirus, among other things, for the lack of proper documents and hurriedly filed appeal.

In an indication of public outrage over the case that shook the conscience of an entire nation, several posters were seen outside the Tihar premises in the wee hours on Friday with placards and posters reading "thanks to judiciary" and "the morning of justice".

Ahead of the execution, Asha Devi, Nirbhaya's mother, who had been fighting tooth and nail for justice, said...

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First Published: Fri, March 20 2020. 14:58 IST
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