New Delhi: Moments after four men were sentenced to death for the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old student, her parents said they were relieved and happy.
"I can finally breathe, I am relieved and we are finally at peace. They have got the punishment they truly deserve" said the girl's mother, her husband and two sons by her side. "No victim should remain silent. They must come forward and report the crime."
"We are happy. Justice has been delivered," added her father.
The girl's family sat in the packed courtroom, not far from convicts Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Mukesh Singh, as the judge announced, "death to all", classifying the crime as the rarest of rare.
The convicts' lawyers said they would appeal the verdict. "If they appeal, we will fight back. We are prepared for a very long battle for justice."
Before the hearing, the mother broke down while talking to reporters. "Today I keep remembering her life, the pain she suffered." She was with her daughter when she died in Singapore, 13 days after the savage assault.
The family had sold their land and invested their heart and soul in their daughter's dreams, financing her physiotherapy education despite their modest income.
This was a day they had anticipated for nine months, ever since their daughter died of the horrific injuries inflicted by the men who violated her so brutally with an iron rod that her internal organs were irreparably damaged.
The parents have repeatedly demanded the death sentence for their daughter's killers. "They deserve no mercy," said the father.