Soon after the four convicts in the 2012 gangrape and murder of a young medical student, who came to be known as "Nirbhaya" or fearless, were hanged this morning, political leaders across the country posted strong reactions on social media as some of them called for removal of loopholes in the legal system.
The execution of the four convicts - Akshay Thakur, 31, Pawan Gupta, 25, Vinay Sharma, 26, and Mukesh Singh, 32 - took place at 5:30 am at Delhi's Tihar jail, less than two hours after the Supreme Court dismissed the final petition of the convicts. Last night, the convicts had also petitioned the Delhi High Court, where their lawyer cited coronavirus for the lack of proper documents along with the hurriedly-filed appeal.
Multiple petitions were filed by the four convicts over the past few months, which stalled their execution thrice. "Hanged till death! Finally! I know we are late Nirbhaya. #NirbhayaJustice," tweeted BJP MP Gautam Gambhir after the hanging.
Hanged till death! Finally! I know we are late Nirbhaya. #NirbhayaJustice— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) March 20, 2020
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called upon state governments and centre, urging them for a collective resolution to "not allow another Nirbhaya case."
"After seven years, Nirbhaya case convicts were hanged today. It's a day to take a resolution that we will not allow another Nirbhaya case. Police, courts, state governments and the centre should resolve to collectively remove loopholes in the system to let this not happen to any daughter," the AAP chief tweeted in Hindi.
Puducherry Governor Kiran Bedi praised Nirbhaya's mother, Asha Devi, for never giving up during the last seven years. "Asha Devi mother of #Nirbhya goes down in history as an Unstoppable Mother who fought for ultimate justice for her daughter. Her struggle fully exposed the irony of brutal and merciless criminals who pray for mercy to live for themselves," she tweeted.
AshaDevi Devi mother of #Nirbhya goes down in history as an Unstoppable Mother who fought for ultimate justice for her daughter.— Kiran Bedi (@thekiranbedi) March 20, 2020
Her struggle fully exposed the irony of brutal and merciless criminals who pray for mercy to live for themselves. @PTI_News@ANI@airnewsalerts
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that Nirbhaya convicts manipulated the system to delay capital punishment for seven years. "All criminals who committed one of the most reprehensible crimes have been given capital punishment. I wish this could have been done earlier," Mr Prasad was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
"Today is also the day to reflect by the judiciary, government, civil society that should some people convicted of capital punishment be allowed to manipulate the system to delay it for seven years," he added.
On December 16, 2012, the 23-year-old physiotherapy student was looking for a ride home after watching a movie when she was lured into a bus by six men.
The men beat the friend unconscious and dumped him in the back of the bus. The woman was subjected to savage assault for the next few hours. She died a few days later in a Singapore hospital amid angry street protests across India and international revulsion.
Of the six arrested, one, Ram Singh, was found hanging in his jail cell and another, a minor who was just short of 18, was released after three years in a reform home.