By Rohan Agarwal and Aakansha Khajuria
New Delhi, March 20 (IANS) 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.
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.
Following the hanging, at Tihar, Pawan the hangman stated, “I am feeling happy after hanging the four. I had waited for this moment my entire life.”
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.
(Rohan Agarwal can be contacted at [email protected] )