The parents of a 23-year-old woman who was gang-raped and murdered in Delhi demanded punishment for the convicts as memorials and events were held on the seventh anniversary of the crime that shocked India and the world.
Nirbhaya - ‘fearless’ in Hindi - was the name given by the media to Jyoti Singh, who was assaulted and raped by five men and a juvenile on a bus on the night of December 16, 2012. She died nearly two weeks later at a Singapore hospital.
The day was marked by candlelight vigils and rallies in New Delhi and other major cities including Hyderabad and Ahmedabad.
‘For the past seven years, we have waited patiently for justice in the case. We lost our daughter in December. We demand that all four convicts are hanged this very month,’ the victim's mother Asha Devi said in New Delhi.
She also petitioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Change.org to intervene and speed up justice in the case.
‘The way the case is dragging on is setting a bad example for those who are openly committing such crimes fearlessly. I need justice. We, as a nation, need closure,’ she said.
Of the six, one was found dead in his cell, while a juvenile was released in 2015 after three years in a reform home.
The four accused were handed death sentences by the trial and the high court which have been confirmed by the Supreme Court. One of the convicts has filed a petition before the top court to review its verdict, which will be heard Tuesday.
The convicts also have the last legal recourse of filing a curative petition in the Supreme Court. If that petition is rejected, they can approach the president of India with a mercy petition to commute the death sentence.
Also on Monday, Kuldip Sengar, a former lawmaker from India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, was convicted of rape. The sentencing is scheduled for Tuesday, with the maximum possible punishment being life imprisonment.
Despite stricter laws and measures to increase security for women since the Delhi gang rape, a high number of such crimes continue to be reported in India.
According to the latest government data available, 33,658 women and girls were raped in India in 2017.
Activists say many more rapes go unreported. The criminal justice system also fails to respond adequately, with the conviction rate in rape cases at 32 per cent in 2017.
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