The mother of Nirbhaya - the 23-year-old medical student whose horrific gangrape and torture and tortured in a moving bus in Delhi had appalled and outraged the nation six years ago - today welcomed the Supreme Court order that confirmed that the five men responsible will hang. The court, which upheld the death sentence for the men in May last year, turned down a petition from the convicts that they be given life term.
"It is justice to all," said Asha Devi, who was present in court for the verdict. But their "struggle does not end here", she said, referring to the legal steps that remain before the death sentence is carried out.
The convicts can file one more petition challenging their sentence and if that's turned down too, can ask the President for mercy. Death sentence will be carried out in case of a refusal from the President.
"Justice is getting delayed. It is affecting other daughters of the society," said Asha Devi, who has repeatedly contended that the guilty be hanged at the earliest, even the juvenile accused. "I request judiciary to tighten their judicial system, serve justice to Nirbhaya by hanging them as soon as possible and help others," she said today.
Nirbhaya's father Badrinath Singh underscored the point. "We knew the review petition will be dismissed. But what next? So much time has gone by and the threat to women has gone up in this span. I believe sooner they're hanged, better it is," said Mr Singh, who has been fighting for justice for his daughter since her death.
On the evening of December 16, 2012, the 23-year-old had gone to watch a film with a friend and both were assaulted when they had boarded an empty bus to go home from the posh South Delhi movie hall.
The woman was gang-raped by the six people present and violated with an iron rod when she protested. Her friend was beaten severely, and both were thrown out of the bus at a secluded spot. Fighting for life for 13 days, she died at a hospital in Singapore.
While one of her assailants died in jail, another - a juvenile -- was tried by a juvenile justice board and released after he served his three-year sentence. The other four men were sentenced to death. Today's petition was filed by Mukesh, 29, Pawan Gupta, 22 and Vinay Sharma, 23. The fourth death row convict, Akshay Kumar Singh, 31, had not filed a review petition.
The case, which scarred the nation, had headlined across the world, triggering big changes to laws on sexual crimes against women. It also put focus on the increasing number of crimes involving juveniles, bringing about change that would see them tried as adults under specific circumstances.