The fateful night of 16th December 2012 will always be remembered for the doom it brought over a 23 year old physiotherapy intern, Jyoti Singh and her friend Awindra Pratap Singh who were returning from the cinema after watching ‘Life of Pi’ with a friend when they were offered a ride in a private bus..
The six accused namely, Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta, Akshay Thakur, Ram Singh and a juvenile were arrested and charged for rape, murder, kidnapping, robbery and assault.Jyoti underwent five surgeries during her course of treatment at Safdurjung Hospital, New Delhi and was later airlifted to Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Singapore. She suffered brain damage, pneumonia, and abdominal infection and died at 4:45 AM on 29 December 2012
Ram Singh, died in police custody from possible suicide on 11 March 2013 in the Tihar Jail. The rest of the accused went on trial in a fast-track court; the prosecution finished presenting its evidence on 8 July 2013.The juvenile was convicted of rape and murder and given the maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment in a reform facility and was set free in 2015.
On 10 September 2013, the four remaining adult defendants were found guilty of rape and murder and three days later were sentenced to death by hanging.The Supreme Court upheld the Delhi High Court’s verdict in 2017. In July 2018, the SC rejected the review pleas filed by the three convicts for a re-examination of its 2017 judgment.
The case catapulted nationwide protest for the alarming situation of women in country and created a huge political turmoil between the then ruling party Congress and opposition party BJP. As a result a judicial committee was set up to study and take public suggestions for the best ways to amend laws to provide quicker investigation and prosecution of sex offenders. After considering about 80,000 suggestions, the committee submitted a report which indicated that failures on the part of the government and police were the root cause behind crimes against women.
Former Indian President Pranab Mukherjee signed a number of new laws to support victims and survivors of sexual violence, including one that approved of the death penalty for rape cases that result in death, The New York Times reported. While the laws were a good start, many women noted that the government didn’t go far enough to protect victims and survivors, pointing out that legislators failed to address marital rape, amongst other abhorrent acts.
Earlier the accused were to be hanged on the very same date of 16th December but due to Akshay Thakur’s pending petition which is to be heard on 18th December 2019 has delayed the much awaited justice.
Lack of conscience and patriarchal mindset was very much evident with statements of Mukesh Singh (accused in the case) that had been responsible for her own death.”A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy,” he said, according to the U.K.’s Telegraph. Like others before him, Singh claimed the victim had invited the attack due to her clothing and appearance. He also claimed she’d still be alive if she hadn’t resisted.
A BBC documentary titled India’s Daughter based on the attack was broadcasted in the UK on 4 March 2015. Indian-Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta’s 2016 film Anatomy of Violence was also based on the incident, exploring the social conditions and values in Indian society that made it possible. In 2019, Netflix original TV series Delhi Crime is based on the Delhi Police’s search for the culprits of this case.
7 years after the incident, Nirbhaya still sobs for justice which clearly hints the state of law in our country where the family members of the victim still struggle to get past the horrifying memories of the night whereas accused use the very same law system to avoid their punishment. Even more alarming is the fact this incident wasn’t the first and last in the series of brutalities against women but was rather followed by more heinous crimes against women as that of Kathua , Hyderbad, Unnao etc.
We are sorry Nirbhaya. We are sorry.