As the countdown to the hanging of the four death-row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case entered its final phase, the crowd loudly chanted the final countdown; a handful of posters reading “thanks to judiciary” and “the morning of justice” also were propped up outside the Tihar Jail premises…reports Rohan Agarwal and Aakansha Khajuria
As the night edged towards dawn, the contours of Tihar Jail gradually emerged from the darkness. In an apparent sign of closure to a seven year and three month long quest for justice in one of India’s most talked about criminal case –the Nirbhaya gang rape.
After three postponements, the hanging of all four convicts of the Nirbhaya gang rape was fixed for Friday, 5.30 a.m.
In a celebration of the long-pending justice in one of India’s most gruesome rape case, people started to assemble outside Tihar Jail as the clock struck 2 a.m. With the Supreme Court also closing doors on the convicts’ last-ditch efforts, the crowd outside Tihar began swelling up dramatically.
The wave of emotions outside Tihar was such that even the coronavirus outbreak could not deter people from assembling in large numbers outside the Jail, to show their solidarity with Nirbhaya.
“My wife advised me not to step out amid the coronavirus outbreak, but I could not contain my happiness as justice is being imparted to my sister,” said Ravinder Singh Bakshi, a resident of Delhi’s Hari Nagar.
A woman, who came from Madhya Pradesh, specially to show solidarity with the victim, said that justice has finally been served. “I have come here to see justice unfold before my eyes,” she said.
The joy at justice being served was evident when the crowd started their own countdown with 60 seconds remaining for the scheduled time of hanging.
As the countdown to the hanging of the four death-row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case entered its final phase, the crowd loudly chanted the final countdown; a handful of posters reading “thanks to judiciary” and “the morning of justice” also were propped up outside the Tihar Jail premises.
The moment it was 5.30 a.m., the crowd’s countdown reached zero, and a pin drop silence enveloped the crowd outside Tihar for over 10-15 seconds, with people wondering if someone would come out the jail and inform about the hanging. But while no jail official stepped out with any information, the media buzz that all the convicts had been finally hanged, had the crowd erupt in joy.
Later, Director-General of Tihar jail, Sandeep Goel, confirmed that the four convicts — Vinay, Akshay, Mukesh and Pawan were hanged simultaneously at 5.30 a.m. All the four were declared dead at 6.10 a.m.
‘Friday’s sun rose for daughters of India’
At their home in Dwarka, there was a sigh of relief and a sense of closure at Nirbhaya’s home. “I am feeling satisfied as my daughter got justice today,” Nirbhaya’s mother, Asha Devi said after the news of execution broke out.
Asha Devi hugged her loved ones, held back her tears and with a voice heavy with emotion said that the sun will rise on Friday with new hopes for daughters of India.
Nirbhaya’s mother and father have been fighting an ending legal battle to see their end for seven long years.
Speaking to IANS, Asha Devi said, “Justice has been delivered today. Four convicts have been hanged till death. Today’s rising sun is dedicated to the daughters of this country.
“Not only Nirbhaya, but the entire country that was shaken to its core on that December 16 night in 2012, was delivered justice.”
She has waited with baited breath to see the day when finally her daughter’s rapists would be hanged, and Asha Devi could not contain her satisfaction when the confirmation of hanging of four convicts in the gang rape and murder case came in a little after 5.35 a.m. on Friday. A little after 6 a.m. the doctor confirmed that her daughter’s attackers were dead.
Speaking to the throng of media personnel waiting outside her residence, Nirbhaya’s mother Asha Devi said that her faith in the judiciary had been vindicated.
A visibly relieved Asha Devi said that the hangings of the four convicts would send a strong signal for deterrence. “Our fight for security of daughters across the country will continue” she said.
“I returned from the Supreme Court, hugged my daughter’s photograph and told her: ‘Today, justice has been delivered’.”
“I dedicate this day — March 20 to all the women in the country because #Nirbhaya got justice, today,” she said.
‘Happy’ to execute
Following the hanging, Pawan (57) said, “For the first time in my life, I’m happy to execute four convicts. I had been waiting for this day for long. I thank God and the Tihar jail administration.
Pawan was chosen by the Tihar Jail administration to hang the four Nirbhaya gang rape-murder convicts.
Pawan is the only “certified” hangman in Uttar Pradesh, attached to the Meerut jail and gets a monthly salary of Rs 3,000.
He has never imagined being anything else and has wanted to be a hangman since he was a child. Pawan Jallad’s father was a hangman and so was his grandfather.
‘Morning of justice’
Slogans of ‘Nirbhaya Zindabad’ were raised, and the Tricolour unfurled by people all round.
“As soon as the news broke that convicts have been hanged, we hit the roads with the Tricolor to extend our tributes to Nirbhaya,” Meena Sharma, a local resident, said while waving a flag.
A man also climbed on the railing outside the jail with a poster in his hand which stated about the delay in serving justice to the victim.
“The motive is to showcase the loophole in our judiciary system,” Umakant Sharma said.
Over the years, the convicts adopted several manoeuvres to delay the hanging and even succeeded thrice. This time, however, they could not escape the clutches of the judiciary and were hanged to death on Friday.
“This is a big day in the history of the nation. The hanging will give a message to the world that such acts should not be committed,” said social activist Yogita Bhayana, who was associated with the case since the beginning.