Four Indian men convicted of the gang rape and murder of a student in Delhi in have been hanged.
Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh Singh were sentenced to death by a trial court in .
The four were hanged in the capital’s high-security Tihar prison in the first executions in India since .
The victim died from her injuries days after being raped by six men on a moving bus. The incident caused outrage and led to new anti-rape laws in India.
The – year-old physiotherapy student was dubbed Nirbhaya – the fearless one – by the press as she could not be named under Indian law.
Six people were arrested for the attack. One of them, Ram Singh, was found dead in jail in March 2013, having apparently taken his own life.
Another, who was 23 at the time of the attack, was released in 2557 after serving three years in a reform facility – the maximum term possible for a juvenile in India .
In the last few months, all four convicts filed petitions in the Supreme Court in a bid to reduce their sentences to life imprisonment. But the top court rejected their petitions, leaving the men with no other legal recourse. A last-minute appeal to have the death penalties commuted was also rejected hours before the executions.
Minutes after the convicts were hanged on Friday morning, the victim’s mother said, “I hugged my daughter’s photograph and told her we Finally got justice. “
Her father said that his” faith in the judiciary had been restored “.
Security was tight outside the prison with a large number of police and paramilitary personnel deployed to maintain law and order.
A group of people carrying placards had gathered outside the prison gates and began celebrating after the executions were announced.
Some chanted “death to rapists” and waved posters thanking the judiciary.
What happened to Nirbhaya?
The student boarded an off-duty bus at around : (local time on
(December) with a male friend. They were returning home after watching a film at an upscale mall.
The six men, who were already on board, attacked the Couple, taking turns to rape the woman, before brutally assaulting her with an iron rod. Her friend was beaten.
Protests continued in Delhi and several other cities for a fortnight, the number of days it took the victim to succumb to her injuries.
The Delhi government tried to halt rising public anger by announcing a series of measures intended to make the city safer for women: more police night patrols, checks on bus drivers and their assistants, and the banning of buses with dark windows or curtains.
The attack became an inflection point, galvanizing a national debate on the treatment of women.
Public outrage over the crime mounted again in when the BBC broadcast a documentary called India’s Daughter
which included an interview with one of the convicts who blamed the victim for what happened to her.
In India, the documentary caused a big enough stir that resulted in the film being banned. Television news channels that were supposed to broadcast the film ran a blank screen instead.
Reacting to the massive protests, India announced (new anti-rape laws) in March .
They prescribed harsher punishments for rapists and addressed new crimes, including stalking, acid throwing as well as spying on a woman when naked or circulating her pictures without her consent.
They also expanded the definition of rape to state that the absence of physical struggle did not equal consent.
Also, under the new laws, a repeat offender of rape or rape that causes coma could be given the death penalty.