New Delhi: As celebrations erupted outside Tihar jail after the four convicts of the 16 December Delhi gang rape and murder case were executed early Friday, wails rose through Delhi’s Ravidas Camp as two bodies arrived in the afternoon.
Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Thakur (31) — the four convicted in the 2012 case — were hanged at 5.30 am, seven years after the crime and more than two months since the original date of their death warrants.
Families of three convicts — Mukesh, Pawan and Vinay — live in Ravidas Camp, while Akshay’s family is in Bihar.
The bodies of Vinay and Pawan reached Ravidas Camp at 2.20 pm. At the time of publishing this report, it was not known where the other two bodies were taken to.
“What has this achieved? Will rapes magically end now?” asked Pawan’s elder sister, who didn’t want to be named. “For one life, she (Asha Devi, mother of the gang-rape victim) has taken away five. That should weigh on her conscience.”
In a lane outside the Ravidas Camp, a big carpet was laid out for the women of the respective families to collectively grieve.
Before the execution, the families scarcely interacted with one another despite living only a few feet away. On Friday, they came together for the first time to share their grief.
“We didn’t see any use for it before. There was still some hope that they would survive, and every family coped on their own,” said Pawan’s younger sister, who refused to be identified.
“Only we (the four families) know what this feels like. We gave up so much and hoped so hard, begged for mercy, only to get back a dead body.”
‘Country bayed for the blood of our sons’
The families of Vinay and Pawan said they didn’t sleep throughout Thursday night. Mukesh Singh’s elderly mother, Ram Bai, was consoled by neighbours as she cried throughout the night.
All three families told ThePrint that they wanted nothing but to be left alone.
“What more can we say or do? The country bayed for the blood of our sons. And now they’re gone. Two of my sons are dead and I have no one left,” said Ram Bai. Her other son and co-accused in the case, Ram Singh, had committed suicide in Tihar jail soon after the trial began in 2013.
“We want to be left alone, please leave us alone,” added Ram Bai.
A reporter was even beaten and driven out of the locality when he tried to take photographs of the bodies.
Waiting for the bodies, Pawan’s mother once lost consciousness and was force-fed water. She had refused to speak since the hanging.
“Why do they hang just the sons? They might as well hang the parents, too. By simply looking at her, you can’t tell if she’s dead or alive,” said Pawan’s elder sister, pointing to her mother.
The gang rape case became one of the most prominent cases of gender crimes.
But these families see the deaths of their sons as nothing short of a travesty.
“This was a media trial from the start. The mainstream media and politicians milked this case and now our boys were killed for it. They are dead and that’s irreversible. The spotlight was always on her, and the case grew and grew till our sons became monsters, and we the parents of monsters,” said Hiralal Gupta, Pawan’s father.
“What will you do taking pictures of us crying and writing about it? If our son is dead, it’s by the hands of the media,” said Ram Bai.
Vinay’s mother, who was hoping for a miracle, said there’s nothing to look forward to now.
After the convicts were hanged simultaneously, the bodies were taken to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital at 8.30 am for post-mortem. The family members of all four convicts waited outside the hospital to take the bodies with them.
The hospital, which was barricaded, saw heavy presence of police and CRPF personnel, who had been there since 4 am. Just outside the barricades, a huge crowd had gathered to catch a glimpse of the bodies and the convicts’ family members.
(With inputs from Revathi Krishnan)