Seven years after Nirbhaya's death, a court has declared that four men convicted of gang-raping, torturing and killing her will hang on January 22. "For seven years, I cried tears of blood," said her mother, describing her fight for justice as a painful one.
Moments before the judge pronounced the order and signed a death warrant, the mother of one of the convicts walked up to Nirbhaya's mother in the courtroom and begged her to spare her son's life. Nirbhaya's mother said to her: "How can I forget what happened to my daughter?"
Speaking to NDTV, she said she felt no emotion when convict Mukesh Singh's mother pleaded with her.
"Seven years ago we lost our daughter. The state in which I saw my daughter, her body soaked in blood... there were so many injuries on her body that if was as if she had been attacked by animals. I have cried tears of blood for seven years. It does not affect me now if anyone is crying and begging for mercy. Because after crying for seven years, I have become a stone. I feel nothing," Nirbhaya's mother said.
"We saw our daughter in the worst possible state. I have been dying for seven years."
The battle won yesterday was not just that of Nirbhaya or her parents, she emphasised. "It is about justice and safety for every daughter of the country."
Over the years, there were many disappointing court hearings, many frustrating moments for the devastated parents. Every new incident forced them to relive the pain of losing their daughter.
Will the execution of the four convicts bring closure for the family, finally?
"No one can ever forget or be the same after what we saw, the way life seeped out of our daughter," said Nirbhaya's father.
"The pain will remain with us for life. But now when the men are hanged, it will be a big message for country, especially for criminals, that they cannot escape the law."
On December 16, 2012, the 23-year-old woman and her friend had watched a movie and were looking for a bus home when, at south Delhi, they were lured into a private bus, empty but for six men. The woman was raped for hours and tortured with an iron rod before being dumped on the road. She died on December 29, as a shocked and grieving nation took to the streets demanding justice.
Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Kumar Singh will hang at 7 am on January 22. Two more were accused in the case. Ram Singh was found hanging in his cell and the sixth, who was just short of 18 when the crime was committed, was released after three years in a reform home.