New Delhi: Seven years after a young medical student was gang-raped and tortured on a moving bus in Delhi, four of her killers were hanged at 5.30 am (Indian Standard Time) Friday morning.
Less than two hours ago, the Supreme Court dismissed their final petition
In the hours before that, the convicts had petitioned the Delhi High Court, where their lawyer cited coronavirus for the lack of proper documents with the hurriedly filed appeal.
A third court had already declared that they had run out of all legal options of stopping their execution.
As Akshay Thakur, 31, Pawan Gupta, 25, Vinay Sharma, 26, and Mukesh Singh, 32, were hanged at Tihar Jail in Delhi, where they had spent the last few hours in isolation. This is the first time in the history of India that four convicts were hanged at the same time.
They refused to eat and were up all night, said officials. The entire jail was on lockdown through the night, and officials said, no prisoner in Asia’s largest jail could sleep a wink.
The four filed multiple petitions over the past few months, managing to stall their execution thrice at the eleventh hour. “Send them to the India-Pakistan border, send them to Doklam, but don’t hang them,” pleaded the lawyer of one of the convicts Akshay Thakur.
Akshay’s wife, who sought a divorce saying she did not want to be a widow, appeared to faint outside a court where the judge ruled that the convicts had reached the end of the road.
“Finally the convicts will be hanged. Now I will get peace. My daughter’s soul will be in peace,” said Asha Devi, the mother of the woman, who came to be known as “Nirbhaya” or fearless.
Several “dummy executions” had been carried out by the hangman, Pawan Jallad as petitions stalled the execution repeatedly.
On December 16, 2012, the 23-year-old woman had watched a movie with her friend and was looking for a ride home when she was lured into a bus by six men.
For the next few hours, the woman was subjected to a savage assault and even tortured with an iron rod before being dumped on a road, naked and bleeding. She died a few days later in a Singapore hospital amid angry street protests in India and even other countries.
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.
India changed its laws on crimes against women after the horrific gang-rape and killing.