Four men sentenced to death for the 2012 gang-rape and murder of a young medical student in Delhi will hang at 7 am on January 22, a court declared today, putting out a death warrant in the case that scarred India. Mukesh Singh, 32, Pawan Gupta, 25, Vinay Sharma, 26, and Akshay Kumar Singh, 31, will be executed together at Tihar jail, where officials had started preparing a month ago.
All four reportedly broke down in jail after the death warrant.
“This judgement will reinforce people’s faith in the judiciary and empower women. My daughter will get justice,” said Nirbhaya’s mother.
The 23-year-old, who came to be known as “Nirbhaya (fearless)”, died days after she was raped on a moving bus, tortured with an iron rod and dumped on the road, naked and bleeding, on December 16, 2012. She and her friend had boarded the bus from south Delhi after a movie.
It was a crime of staggering brutality that provoked street protests across the country – and even other countries – and became a turning point for laws to ensure the safety of women.
As the judge pronounced the order, the courtroom was packed and thick with emotion. Nirbhaya’s parents as well as family members of the convicts wept.
Just before the order, the mother of convict Mukesh Singh had walked up to Nirbhaya’s mother and pleaded with her. “I appeal to you to forgive my son. I am begging for his life,” she said, holding her sari before her in a gesture of begging. “I had a daughter too. How can I forget what happened with her? I have been waiting for justice for seven years…,” Nirbhaya’s mother responded.