Rape verdict: Is this real victory for us?

After the new law was implemented, this will be the first case where death sentence will be awarded to the guilty, if the court too believes so. But is this a real victory for us?

Nine months after the December 16, 2012, fatal rape, the court today handed over the verdict on the case. Four of the six people were held guilty of rape and murder. One of the accused, a minor, has already been convicted with three year sentence on the case and the sixth was found hanging in his prison cell this March.

The six men were riding through the city on an off-duty bus in December when they tricked the 23-year-old woman and her male friend into boarding.

They beat the friend into submission, held down the woman and repeatedly raped her. They also violated the woman repeatedly with an iron rod, stabbed her with it causing severe internal injuries that led to her death two weeks later at a Singapore hospital, where she was referred for treatment from Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi.

The court will hear both the sides to decide on the quantum of punishment to be awarded to the guilty tomorrow. Though the whole nation, including parents of the victim and national leaders, is demanding death sentence for them, it will be court’s decision at last.

However the defence has said that his clients were found guilty during political pressure. He told media, “The accused are poor powerless people, which is why they have been found guilty”.

The fast track court convicted the four guilty by relying on the victim’s dying declaration and forensic evidence.

The accused were held guilty of 13 offences including gang-rape, unnatural offence, murder, dacoity, conspiracy, kidnapping and destruction of evidence.

After the new law was implemented, this will be the first case where death sentence will be awarded to the guilty, if the court too believes so. But is this a real victory for us?

The government recently added amends to its sexual violence laws submitting to public protest and political pressure. Although the trial court delivered verdict in late nine months, it was really fast given the due course that average Indian cases take.

Here is the timeline of the case:

December 16, 2012: A 23-year-old paramedical student gangraped in a moving bus in Delhi with her male friend made to watch.

December 23, 2012: Fast track court set up by Delhi high court to speed up the trial.

January 3, 2013: 33 page chargesheet filed against five accused- Ram Singh, Mukesh Singh, Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma

January 6, 2013: Pawan and Vinay say they want to turn approvers.

January 7, 2013: Court orders in-camera trial

January 28, 2013: Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) declares sixth accused a minor

February 2, 2013: Fast track court frames charges against five accused

February 5, 2013: Trial begins

March 11, 2013: Ram Singh found dead in his cell in Tihar jail

August 22, 2013: Prosecution initiates final arguments

August 26, 2013: Prosecution concludes final arguments

August 27, 2013: Defence begins final arguments

August 31, 2013: Juvenile Justice Board holds minor guilty of rape and murder

September 3, 2013: Trial ends

September 10, 2013: Court held them guilty of rape and murder

There are so many more girls out there who have been waiting for justice. There have been reports of FIRs not being filed even after a girl complains. There are hundreds and thousands of women who have been sexually assaulted and await justice from decades. Police, in many cases, either doesn’t help or is the accused. The security is lacking and women are told not to venture out at inappropriate hour of night in inappropriate clothing curbing their freedom.

Despite this case being widely in public eye there has been no stopping on the rape cases. Only few days after the December 16 rape, three year old girl was brutalised in Delhi. According to reports, there were 45 rape cases and 75 sexual assault cases in Delhi within a month of the case.

And the guilty doesn’t seem to fear the system. The rape cases have actually increased in number according to NCRB. The recent was the gang-rape case in Mumbai.

Is this verdict going to put a cork on all the rape cases or sexual offences that waiting to violate a woman’s modesty?

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