Nirbhaya's mother vows to fight for providing justice to all rape victims
Nearly 9 months after the four death row convicts in the 2012 Delhi gang-rape case of Nirbhaya were hanged at Tihar Jail here, Nirbhaya' mother Asha Devi has pledged to fight for providing justice to all rape victims.
In an interaction with ANI, Asha Devi on Wednesday said fighting for justice for rape victims will be a tribute to her daughter, who was gang-raped on this day in 2012.
"Justice has been delivered to my daughter. But it does not mean that I will sit in silence. I will continue to fight for justice to all rape victims. Like this I will pay tribute to my daughter, Everyone together needs to raise their voice against rape," said Asha Devi while remembering her daughter on the eighth year of fateful December 16 gang-rape and murder incident, which shocked the conscience of the nation and ignited demand of strict laws on offences against women.
Nirbhaya's mother Asha Devi recounted her over seven years of struggle in contesting legal battle, which finally concluded with the execution of four convicts --Mukesh Singh, Akshay Singh Thakur, Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta -- on March 20.
The case pertains to the brutal gang-rape and killing of a 23-year-old paramedical student in a moving bus on the night of December 16, 2012, by six people including a juvenile in the national capital. The woman had died at a Singapore hospital a few days later.
"Nirbhaya has got justice. This is first December 16 after the four rape convicts have been hanged to death," she said expressing her satisfaction with the legal systems.
Although, she questioned the behaviour of defence lawyers in using the various options of delaying the matter and pointed out that the execution of capital punishment has been postponed many times.
Nevertheless, there was a delay but finally, it concluded with what the convicts really deserved, the bereaved mother Asha Devi said, "This was the first time in the Indian history that four rapists were hanged to death, which sent a strong message to the society that no mercy will be shown to brutal criminals existing in the society."
She said that it has reimposed faith in the legal system among those rape survivors, who were fighting for justice.
"Eight years ago, I have committed myself to raise my voice against the rape incident. Now my pledge to fight for justice to rape victims will continue in the future," she said.
Recalling her pain and agony that she has faced while seeing her daughter in the hospital bed fighting for her survival for around for 10-12 days but could not even get a drop of water, the victim's mother said that she has taken an oath to fight against rape. She also said that now she sees her daughter in face of every girl and in the face of rape victims, she finds pain of her daughter that Nirbhaya has faced in the hospitals in her last days.
During her interaction, the bereaved mother also suggested: "to change the mindset of men, which will work in containing such an incident". She also recommended that police and local administration should perform their duty responsibly. She also raised questions on Uttar Pradesh Police on allegedly "cremating the body of Hathras victim in the wee hours".
Yogita Bhayana, a close associate of Nirbhaya's family who supported them since the initial days, appealed to the government to give first priority to the safety of women in the society in comparison to any other issues.
"Instead of focusing on giving self-defence training to women. The people must focus on changing the mindsets of men. Teaching men to respect females will help in reducing sexual offences against women," said Yogita Bhayana, a social activist, who heads the People Against Rapes in India.
"Our focus has always been on women, how can we protect her, give her training of self-defence and instruct girls not to remain outside the house in the night," Bhayana added.
She said that everyone must focus on teaching our sons to give respect to women.
"Henceforth, we must address the real audience, i.e. men, who are either son or brother of every woman. If the mindsets of men will be changed then it will help in controlling such incidents," she said.
The four convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case were hanged to death at 5:30 a.m. in Delhi's Tihar jail on March 20, 2020, bringing down the curtains on the drama surrounding the execution that saw the death warrants cancelled thrice on various grounds.
The four convicts, along with two others including Ram Singh and a juvenile, had raped and brutally tortured a 23-year-old paramedic student on a moving bus in south Delhi on the night of December 16, 2012. The victim died a few days later after battling for life at a Singapore hospital. She was earlier admitted to Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital.
The case had created an uproar across the country, especially in Delhi where a large number of people came out on the streets, demanding justice for the victim, who was renamed as 'Nirbhaya' or the fearless.