In an otherwise disturbing week – as India erupted in protests against Citizenship Amendment Act – finally there is some relieving news. Just two days after BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar was convicted by the Delhi high Court for raping a woman in Unnao in 2017, another case that shook the nation has made news.
Earlier today, Delhi High Court dismissed the petition to review the sentence for Nirbhaya case convict Akshay Kumar Singh. The three-judge bench ruled that the 2017 verdict – which sentenced all four convicts to death – will be upheld, as there is no ground to review it. However, it added that the convict can still plead mercy to the President.
According an NDTV report, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who represented the Delhi government, said at the court, "There are certain crimes where 'humanity cries' and this case is one of them. On that fateful day, God also must have held His head in shame for two reasons. First, for not being able to save the innocent girl, and second, for having created these five monsters.”
The Delhi HC had earlier rejected similar petitions from the other three convicts in the Nirbhaya case. Akshay Kumar Singh, in his plea, had said that he need not be hanged, as the air pollution in Delhi will kill him soon.
The Nirbhaya case victim’s parents – who lost their 23-year-old daughter to injuries afflicted by the convicted – told the media that they are happy about the judgement.
It was exactly seven years ago - on December 16, 2012 – that the young physiotherapy student, along with her male friend, were attacked by six men in a moving bus. After beating up the man, the gang took to brutally assaulting and raping the woman, before throwing them both on to the road side in the night. The incident shook the nation, evoking protests across the country and garnering attention even from international media on the gender-based violence in India.
Along with Akshay Kumar Singh, four other adult men and a minor boy were convicted in the Nirbhaya case. One of the four, Ram Singh, was found to have hung himself in the jail shortly after his sentencing. The minor was sent to a juvenile prison for three years and freed after that.
The Nirbhaya case was in the news recently vis-à-vis another gangrape case that caught media attention. A few weeks ago, a 26-year-old veterinarian doctor in Hyderabad was gangraped and burnt to death on the outskirts of the city. Although the four accused were caught in a day, on December 6 morning, all four were killed by the police in an encounter. The incident had provoked applause and criticism on the ‘instant justice.’