The mother of the December 2012 gangrape victim on Saturday lashed out at senior lawyer Indira Jaising for urging her to “follow Sonia Gandhi’s example and forgive the convicts”.
Indira Jaising on Friday took to Twitter to make the request as Nirbhaya’s mother, Asha Devi, expressed her disappointment as the Delhi court postponed the date of the execution of the four convicts to February 1.
“While I fully identify with the pain of Asha Devi I urge her to follow the example of Sonia Gandhi who forgave Nalini and said she didn’t want the death penalty for her. We are with you but against the death penalty,” Jaising tweeted.
Nalini Sriharan along with six others were arrested and convicted for her role in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.
In a strong reaction to the appeal, Nirbhaya’s mother’s hit out at the senior lawyer questioning who Indira Jaising was to give her such a suggestion.
“Who is Indira Jaising to give me such a suggestion? Whole country wants the convicts to be executed. Just because of people like her, justice is not done with rape victims,” she was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Asha Devi further said that she cannot believe how Indira Jaising has “even dared to suggest” something like this.
“I met her many times over the years in the Supreme Court, not once she asked for my wellbeing and today she is speaking for the convicts. Such people earn a livelihood by supporting rapists and hence rape incidents don’t stop,” she lashed out.
Earlier on Friday, the victim’s mother had criticised political parties, government and courts for the delay in the execution of Nirbhaya convicts.
She stated that it has been seven years since the gruesome incident happened. Two-and-half years have gone by since the Supreme Court gave its verdict and 18 months have passed since the review petition was rejected, she added while asserting that the family has done what the jail and the government should have done.
Asha Devi also slammed the BJP and AAP as the two parties have blamed each over the delay in the execution of the four convicts in the case.
“Till now, I never talked about politics, but now I want to say that those people who held protests on streets in 2012, today the same people are only playing with my daughter’s death for political gains,” she told news agency ANI.
A fresh death warrant was issued by Delhi’s Patiala House Court against the four convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya rape and murder case, who will now be executed at 6 am on February 1.
According to a January 7 order, the convicts — Vinay Sharma (26), Mukesh Kumar (32), Akshay Thakur Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25) — who were found guilty in the rape and murder of a Delhi medical student, were to be hanged at 7 am on January 22.
The change in execution date comes hours after President Ram Nath Kovind rejected a mercy petition filed by Mukesh Singh.
As per law, there should be a 14-day gap between the rejection of a death-row convict’s mercy petition and his execution. The new execution date is exactly 14 days from today.
Mukesh had on Tuesday moved the Delhi High Court challenging the death warrant issued against him.
The 23-year-old victim, who came to be known as Nirbhaya, was brutally gangraped and tortured on December 16, 2012, inside a running bus in south Delhi by six persons, which later led to her death. All the six accused were arrested and charged with sexual assault and murder.
Four of the convicts were sentenced to death by a trial court in September 2013, and the verdict was confirmed by the Delhi High Court in March 2014 and upheld by the Supreme Court in May 2017, which also dismissed their review petitions.
The fifth accused was a minor and appeared before a juvenile justice court, while a sixth accused committed suicide in Tihar Jail.