-By Jayraj Deshpande
The mention of the name ‘Nirbhaya’ makes us momentarily travel back in time to 2012. A Delhi girl, in a moving bus, was assaulted and raped savagely. Beaten and bruised and suffering various other internal injuries, the infamous plight of Nirbhaya and her mother is well remembered. Jyothi Singh who had now become Nirbhaya fought ferociously to stay alive but in vain. Her one final request was for her perpetrators to be punished for their crimes.
Now the justice had to be served, and the task was in the hands of our mighty justice system. The accused were guilty of various offences within our penal code. It was simple, gather the evidence, file the charge sheet and deliver justice. Everything was evident and the evidence and the autopsy complimented each other perfectly. The accused were certainly guilty of rape and murder. The fast track court even found them guilty of murder, rape, and theft and many more offences. In 2013 he fast track court awarded death penalties to all the accused.
The monsters who without guilt had taken away the peace of Jyothi Singh’s family now were realizing their own fate; the last gasp attempts from the convicts were desperately pathetic as they stretched their arms out for some kind of help as the whole nation was praying for justice. Finally, on 22nd of January 2020, Supreme Court signed the death warrants of all four convicts. The death sentence got postponed until, finally, on March 20, 2020 the convicts were confirmed dead by hanging.
But is the justice really served? Why did it take seven years for these inhuman criminals to be punished? Why such a delay when the evidence was crystal clear? Does this delayed death sentence serve its purpose of creating fear in the minds of the possible criminals? The answer to this is simple and clear, No, the justice hasn’t been served, we have failed to fulfil Nirbhaya’s final wish. Sure, the monsters of her story don’t live anymore but what about the evil that prevails in our society. What about all the heinous cases that still happens in our country. After the Delhi rape case India instead of working its way up the ladder of development and protection of its citizens has spiralled further down to become a country of crimes and poverty. The cases have skyrocketed since then, and even if it might have seemed impossible back then but now, we know the heinousness has only increase with the increased cases.
After the devastating cases of Priyanka Reddy, the Unao incident and many more once again a ‘daughter of India’ lost her life in Hathras. A 19-year-old Dalit girl was raped and almost killed by one of the accused. It later came to light that no arrests were made until after 10 days of the incident. In three different statements recorded before her death, the victim mentioned in all three statements that she was raped and was strangulated when she resisted. Its been more than a month since the incident and during this time period the way the police and the Uttar Pradesh state government handled this matter is pathetic. The police burned the victim’s body without the permission of the victim’s family and later threatened the family about changing their statement. The duty of the police is to bring the criminal in front of the court but instead they are indulging in shameful acts like burning the victim’s body and having a good time while doing it as witnessed in a video. The case has been transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation but still so far, no conviction has taken place. Apparently, no rape took place and there was no evidence from the autopsy.
Will she get the justice she deserves or will this also just be a story in the news channels for 4 days which will leave the parent of every girl in the county in fear? How many more of us need to die in order for our nation to wake up and take some strict action. The truth is that there is no justice that can be served by hanging these criminals instead we need to clean our society by awareness and education. But will our government ever think of this and take initiatives towards this cause? Highly unlikely as power is more desirable than peace and development. Nirbhaya and Hathras incidents are just the tip of icebergs. There are numerous rape cases happening all over the country but are overlooked so that the government propaganda is fulfilled. So, yes, it pains me to say that another Nirbhaya has already lost her fight and even if justice is served it won’t matter because “justice delayed is justice denied”.