Moments before the four men convicted of the 2012 gang-rape and murder of a young medical student - known to the world as "Nirbhaya" - were told by a judge that they would hang at 7 am on January 22, the mother of one of them begged for his life.
Convict Mukesh Singh's mother walked up to Nirbhaya's mother, held her sari in a gesture of begging, and pleaded: "Mere bete ko maaf kar do. Main uski zindagi ki bheekh maangti hoon (Please forgive my son. I am begging you for his life)."
She wept. So did Nirbhaya's mother, who replied: "I had a daughter too. What happened with her, how can I forget? I have been waiting for justice for seven years..."
The judge then ordered silence in the courtroom.
After the ruling, Nirbhaya's mother told reporters the execution of the four convicts would empower the women of the country. "This decision will strengthen the trust of people in the judicial system. January 22 will be a big day for us. My daughter has got justice," she said.
The convicts, Mukesh Singh, 32, Pawan Gupta, 25, Vinay Sharma, 26, and Akshay Kumar Singh, 31, reportedly burst into tears when they heard of the ruling. The judge issued a death warrant against them, which has to be executed within 14 days. That is the time they have to explore their final legal options.
Sources say all four will be in separate cells, in isolation, at Jail 3. They will be allowed to meet one family member, only once.
On December 16, 2012, the 23-year-old woman and her friend had watched a movie and were looking for a ride home when, at south Delhi, they were lured into a private bus, empty but for six men including the driver and the cleaner.
The woman was raped for hours and tortured with an iron rod before being thrown onto the road with severe internal injuries. She died on December 29, leaving the nation shocked and angry.
Besides these four, two more men were arrested by the police days after the crime. 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.