The Indian Supreme Court has upheld the lower court’s decision to give the death sentence to the four men convicted of the infamous Delhi gang rape case. The victim, who was given the name Nirbhaya, demanded on her death bed that the rapists should be burned alive. Now, the question remains: Will the justice system in India allow the rapists to face such a torturous end?
When the Supreme Court made its decision, the courtroom welcomed it with applause. Nirbhaya, which means fearless, was a physiotherapy student. Her real name was Jyoti Singh Pandey. On December 16, 2012, when she was going home with a male friend after watching The Life of Pi, she was gang-raped on a private bus.
According to police, at least five men and the bus driver took turns raping the girl repeatedly while the bus moved around the city at least for an hour. Moreover, they used an iron rod for penetration. While Nirbhaya’s friend tried fighting the men, they beat him severely. After the six men were done with the victim, they threw the two bodies off the bus. Nirbhaya was in terrible condition, and she remained dumped beside the road while the city continued its usual course.
Nirbhaya was eventually rescued and given medical attention. She was wounded so badly during the assault that some of her internal organs had to be removed. She was taken to Singapore for further treatment. Many believe she was moved to calm down the nationwide uproar in response to the growing crime rate against women in India. Nirbhaya died in Singapore two weeks after she was moved there. While a magistrate was recording her statement on her death bed, her mother was also present. Nirbhaya said what kind of punishment she would like for the rapists.
“I want them burned alive.”
Badrinath Singh, the father of the victim, was very happy that the Supreme Court understood his daughter’s pain. He believes that not only his daughter but the entire nation has found justice through the judgment.
The victim’s mother said that what happened to her daughter should not happen to anybody again.
“This fight is not ours alone. This is every man’s fight. This is everyone’s fight. This is every woman’s fight.”
In September of 2013, the lower court gave the death sentence to four of the accused: Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma, and Akshay Thakur. The bus driver, Ram Singh, committed suicide before the court convicted them. The sixth one, a minor, was released in 2015. When he committed the crime, he was months short of 18 years. He spent three years in a correctional home as that is the maximum punishment allowed by the Indian constitution for a minor. However, it caused a public outrage, and there are speculations about lowering the minimum age of punishment from 18 to 16.
Mukesh Singh, on the of the convicted rapists, was interviewed for a BBC documentary. He said that the victim should not have fought back while being raped. If she kept silent and allowed it to happen, she would not have beaten so badly, he said.
“A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy … A decent girl won’t roam around at nine o’clock at night,” the Guardian quoted the convicted as saying in India’s Daughter.
While ways of executions vary around the world, most of those are relatively civilized, such as lethal injection, firing squad, and hanging. Saudi Arabia is the only country that still uses beheading as a way of execution. According to Al Jazeera, the United States is the only country to have capital punishment through electrocution. It is unlikely for India to “burn them alive” no matter what Nirbhaya wished.
[Featured Image by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images]