India hanged four men on Friday who were convicted for the rape and murder of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi in 2012, in a case that shocked the world and shamed the country over its appalling record for crimes against women.
The four were hanged before dawn on Friday at Tihar jail in the Indian capital, the head of the prison, Sandeep Goel, told AFP news agency, in India’s first use of capital punishment since 2015.
The crime, which happened on the night of December 16, 2012, sparked massive protests and global outrage. The victim was dubbed Nirbhaya – the fearless one – by the Indian press, as she could not be named under Indian law.
Attacked on a moving bus and left for dead on the road side, the victim, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student, clung to life for two weeks before succumbing to her injuries. She died in a hospital in Singapore, where she had been transferred in a desperate attempt to save her.
Six men were arrested for the brutal attack. One suspect, Ram Singh, was found dead in his jail cell in March 2013, having apparently taken his own life.
Another, who was aged 17 at the time, was released in 2015 after serving three years in a reform facility – the maximum term possible for a juvenile in India.
In 2017, the Supreme Court upheld death sentences for the four men, with judges ruling
India’s president rejected pleas for clemency from the condemned men, after the Supreme Court dismissed their pleas for a review of the death sentences.
The four hanged on Friday were gym instructor Vinay Sharma, bus cleaner Akshay Thakur, fruit-seller Pawan Gupta and unemployed Mukesh Singh, who were all sentenced to death by a fast-track court in 2013.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a Twitter post said, “Justice has prevailed.” “It is of utmost importance to ensure dignity and safety of women,” he said.
“Today, justice has been done after seven years,” the victim’s mother told reporters outside the prison. “I salute Indian judiciary and thank God for hearing our prayers … my daughter’s soul can now rest in peace.”