The brutal gang-rape and murder of a physiotherapy student in December 2012, which shook the conscience of the nation before gathering dust for several years, is going to come to an end in few hours with the hanging of the four convicts in the case.
The condemned convicts -- Vinay, Akshay, Pawan and Mukesh -- are slated to be executed at 5:30 a.m. on Friday, more than seven years after the crime took place in the heart of the national capital.
Even though the four men adopted all the manoeuvres to delay the hangings, justice will finally be imparted to India's daughter -- Nirbhaya -- on Friday.
The case pertains to the gruesome gang-rape of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student, later dubbed as Nirbhaya, by six men in a moving bus on December 16, 2012. Her male friend was also assaulted following which the duo was thrown on the road. She succumbed to her injuries thirteen days later.
The attackers inserted rod inside her vagina and ripped her intestines apart. The brutality of the crime shook the nation to the core, leading to wide-spread protests and a drastic change in the country's rape laws.
The Delhi Police expedited the case and arrested all the convicts, including a juvenile, within a few days of the incident. The case of the minor accused was transferred to the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB).
On January 3, a chargesheet was filed against the five adults -- Mukesh, Vinay, Akshay, Pawan and Ram Singh -- for murder, attempt to murder, gang-rape, kidnapping, unnatural offences and dacoity. This came a day after a fast-track court (FTC) was set up for sexual offence cases.
On March 11, accused Ram Singh allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself in Tihar Jail. Five months later, on August 31, 2013, the JJB convicted the minor for gang-rape and murder and sent him to a three-year term at a probation home.
Ten days pursuant to that, a trial court convicted four others of 'grave offences', including gang-rape, unnatural offence and murder of the girl and attempt to murder her male friend. On September 13, the court awarded death penalty to all the four convicts.
The convicts then knocked on the doors of the Delhi High Court challenging the order of the trial court. However, the court on March 13, 2014 gave them no relief and upheld the order of the lower court.
On May 5, 2017, they moved the Supreme Court, but a bench headed by Justice Dipak Mishra upheld the death penalty awarded to them.
The apex court observed that the offence created a "Tsunami of shock" and fell under the category of "rarest of rare".
The convicts then availed the legal and constitutional remedies of review -- curative and mercy petitions -- slowly and steadily over the span of three years. Their execution got deferred thrice this year due to the pending remedies, but eventually they were all rejected.
Pawan Gupta was the last convict to exhaust all his remedies on March 4, following which the court issued a death warrant against all the four convicts. They were HANGED TO DEATH at 5.30 am on March 20.