New Delhi: A bus driver, his unrepentant brother, a young father, a gym instructor, a minor on the threshold of adulthood, a fruitseller — these are the six men behind the Nirbhaya rape-murder, one of the most gruesome crimes witnessed in recent history.
Together, they raped, tortured and fatally injured a 23-year-old physiotherapy student when she, along with a male friend who survived the assault, boarded a private bus just after 9 pm on 16 December 2012.
Four of the convicts now face the death penalty. One of them, prime suspect Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide in jail, while the minor is now free after serving the legally prescribed sentence for juvenile offenders, a three-year stint in a rehabilitation home.
All six were residents of Ravi Camp, a slum in South Delhi.
Here’s a brief profile of the six.
The 33-year old main suspect allegedly hanged himself in Tihar Jail in March 2013, but his lawyer and family claimed he was murdered. He was the driver of the bus in which the crime was perpetrated. A widower and primary school dropout, Singh moved to Delhi from Rajasthan when he was 23 years old.
Aged 28 at the time of the crime, Thakur is a married man and has a son who is now eight years old. He worked as a helper on the bus Ram Singh drove. A native of the Naxalism-hit district of Aurangabad in Bihar, Thakur dropped out of school after Class IX. He was arrested from his native village on 21 December 2012.
In the review petition he filed in the Supreme Court against the death sentence, he sought mercy on the grounds that lifespan in Delhi is already shorter than average on account of its pollution problem. The plea was rejected.
Ram Singh’s younger brother, he was arrested on 18 December 2012 from Rajasthan. In his statement, he pleaded innocence and said he was driving the bus at the time of the crime.
In a 2015 BBC documentary about the crime, India’s Daughter, Mukesh appeared unrepentant, saying a “decent girl won’t roam around at 9 pm”. He added that girls were more responsible for rape than boys, and said the victim shouldn’t have fought back.
Sharma, a gym instructor, was in his 20s at the time of the crime. He speaks English. Among other things, he is accused of robbing the victim and her friend. He was arrested from village Karoli, Rajasthan, on 18 December 2012.
Sharma initially claimed he wasn’t on the bus, but later admitted he had committed a horrible crime.
Alleged to have been the “most brutal” of the six, he was 17 years and six months old when the crime was committed. He is believed to have come to Delhi after fleeing his home in Uttar Pradesh as an 11-year-old. He later worked with Ram Singh as a helper. His release from the rehabilitation home in 2015 stoked many protests. According to reports, he is now working as a cook somewhere in South India under a new identity.
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