Nirbhaya. The fearless. The girl who was subjected to a horror spanning around an hour which changed a nation’s legislation.
A 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, renamed Nirbhaya after the horrific incident, was beaten, gang raped, had her intestines torn out through her vagina while she was returning in a private bus with her male friend on 16th December 2012.
On the 5th of May, 2017, the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty for four of the convicted, terming the case as “Devilish, diabolical”.
Let’s Go Back In Time To Four Years, Four Months And Eighteen Days Ago
Nirbhaya and her friend were attacked while they were returning from a movie on the bus. Aside from them, there were six people on board, all six of whom were intricately involved in the heinous deed.
The friend was beaten and knocked unconscious with an iron rod following which they dragged Nirbhaya to the rear and raped her. Her medical reports confirmed extensive damage to her uterus, abdomen, intestines and genitalia following which she died on the 29th of December, after a valiant struggle for life spanning thirteen days.
The Angst Of Billions Of People Expressed As One
Following her death, the nation saw the emergence of a wave never seen before. A wave which comprised largely of the young population. People took to the streets to protest everywhere spanning Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai.
But the most remarkable of protest were staged at New Delhi, perhaps. Public protests were staged at Raisina Hill and India Gate, leading to clashes between the protestors and police and RAF units. Demonstrators were baton charged, shot with water cannons and tear gas shells and even arrested.
Faces like Baba Ramdev, former Army Chief General Vijay Kumar Singh, activist Rajesh Gangwar were also among the clashing demonstrators. Police dealt with protestors adversely by blocking roads leading to Raisina and India Gate while also blocking nine metro stations. Sec. 144 was imposed near the presidential residence and news reporters were barred from approaching Raisina Hill or India Gate.
It Wasn’t Just About India Anymore
Following Nirbhaya’s death, the protests no longer remained confined within national boundaries. South Asian countries like Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh rose to protests demanding an overhaul of attitudes towards women. Parisians participated in a march to the Indian embassy where they handed over a petition asking for action to make India safer for women.
All six of the perpetrators viz., Ram Singh (the driver), Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta, Akshay Thakur and the youngest, a juvenile were arrested within 24 hours of the incident.
Ram Singh committed suicide in Tihar Jail. Disappointing the entire nation and overruling petitions of verifying the juvenile’s age by bone ossification, the ‘juvenile’ was tried in juvenile court and sentenced to a maximum of three years imprisonment in a reform facility. Currently, he is out of prison and employed now. The remaining four has been ordered to be hanged till death by the Supreme Court.
Thank You Nirbhaya, For Gifting Us So Much In Your Death
Radical reforms were brought in throughout the nation post this incident.
Governments of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir brought changes in the state legislation concerning gender crimes with immediate effect to prevent recurrences of the terror.
But the most significant changes were brought about by the Justice Verma Committee. It submitted a report after 29 days, having considered over 80,000 suggestions received during the period.
On 3rd February 2013, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 was promulgated by the President which provides for amendment of the Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act, and Code of Criminal Procedure. The ordinance provides for the death penalty in the case of rape. More interestingly, on 22nd December 2015, Rajya Sabha passed the Juvenile Justice Bill, which proposed that accused over 16 years of age be tried as adults in the court of law.
“Those who did this to me, do not spare them”
–these were Nirbhaya’s words to police officer Chaya Sharma, who was part of the Delhi Police investigation team.
Justice came after four and a half years. However, Delhi is still the rape capital of India. Likewise, India ranks fourth in country wise rape statistics globally.
Appallingly, the juvenile convict who was responsible for most of the violently perverted attacks which included pulling out her intestines through her vagina and perforating her bowels with an iron rod (such that she died of sepsis from her bowel injuries) is now roaming about free and even, employed.
We do not know how many more Nirbhayas will make us realize that our daughters don’t need restrictions, rather our sons need corrections. Let’s just hope this verdict serves as an effective curtain drop to this monstrosity around us.
Meanwhile, thank you Nirbhaya, the fearless one. Millions of women are lightning bolts today because of you, Damini.
Note: The real identity of Nirbhaya and her friend have been kept hidden as we don’t want to bring any more unnecessary attention to them.
Image credits: Google
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