Family of Delhi bus rape victim feel 'at peace' following hanging order

'I am happy that finally justice would be given to not only our daughter but to the entire nation,' said the father of Jyoti Singh, who was raped and murdered in 2012

epa08079529 Mother (C) of a fatal gang rape victim of 2012 shows a victory sign at the Supreme Court in New Delhi, India, 18 December 2019. The Supreme Court on 18 December 2019 has rejected the plea to review death penalty of one of the four convicts, facing death sentence for the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old student on a moving bus in 2012 which provoked widespread outrage and led to stricter laws against sexual assault.  EPA/STR
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Badrinath Singh and Asha Devi say they “feel at peace” after a judge ordered the immediate hanging of four men convicted of the fatal rape in 2012 of their 23-year-old physiotherapist daughter in New Delhi.

The court ruling was welcomed by political parties, lawyers and the public, although some have raised concerns about the court ruling.

The parents of Jyoti Singh, who was brutally attacked by six people, including one juvenile, on a private chartered bus in December 2012 as she returned home after going to the cinema with a male friend, said the slow pace at which the case progressed was agonising for them.

"After seven years of fighting, we finally feel at peace now. We know the men who brutalised my daughter will be hanged. We will eagerly await it," mother Asha Devi told The National.

The New Delhi city judge ruled that the convicts will be executed on the morning of January 22, although the convicts’ lawyer has promised a last ditch effort to challenge the order in the apex court.

The convicts took turns to rape and assault her and also drive through the busy roads of the Indian capital before throwing her on a street to die. Passers-by found her semi-naked and unconscious, drenched in blood, with her innards coming out of her body near Delhi airport. They had brutalised her with an iron rod when she resisted the sexual assault.

She was admitted to hospital before being airlifted to Singapore for specialist treatment, but she died eleven days later.

The brutal crime highlighted the scourge of sexual crime in India and triggered weeks-long violent street protests demanding justice for the victim and reforms to the country’s rape laws.

A fifth accused allegedly committed suicide during the trial and the juvenile convict was released in 2016 after three years at a reform home.

Despite the case being heard at a fast-track court and the death sentence pronounced in the first year of the trial, the convicts challenged the court ruling in the high court and supreme court, delaying the hanging.

Father Badrinath Singh said that he was relieved after an excruciatingly lengthy process, and that he is “happy that finally justice would be given to not only our daughter but to the entire nation”.

“It has been a long journey. If justice was done on time, the number of such incidents would drop,” said Mr Singh.

Ranjana Kumari, Director of Centre for Social Research, said the final decision was "absolutely right".

"It is a very strong message to perpetrators that you will not be spared and will get into the net of law,” she said.

Hangings for sex crimes are rare in India and the courts award death sentences only in extreme cases.

The last execution for a sex crime was in 2004, when Dhananjoy Chatterjee, a watchman, was hanged for the rape and murder of a 14-year-old schoolgirl.

According to an annual statistics report on the death penalty in India by the Centre on the Death Penalty at National Law University, Delhi, 109 death sentences were handed out in 2017, of which 43 were for cases involving a murder with sexual violence.