India executed four people on Friday for the 2012 gang-rape and murder of a woman on a Delhi bus that triggered huge nationwide demonstrations and international revulsion.
The four were hanged in the Indian capital’s Tihar Jail before dawn, the prison governor, Sandeep Goel, told AFP in the first execution since 2015 in India.
“All four convicts (were) hanged at 5:30 am,” Goel said.
The violent assault on Jyoti Singh ignited weeks of protests, throwing a spotlight on the shocking levels of sexual harassment and the plight of women in India where about 95 rapes are reported every day.
Early Friday the execution caused small celebrations outside of the jail.
“We are satisfied that finally my daughter got justice after seven years,” the victim’s mother Asha Devi told reporters outside the jail. “The beasts have been hanged.”
“Today all Indian women received justice,” Delhi resident Meena Sharma told AFP, holding an Indian flag. “I came here around 3:00 am in the morning. I waited here as today is a great day for us.”
On the evening of December 16, 2012, when they boarded a Delhi bus, Singh, 23, was returning home from the cinema with a male friend, thinking he would drive them home.
Five men and a 17-year-old boy, however, had more sinister ideas. They knocked the unconscious mate, and pulled Singh to the back of the bus, raping and torturing her with a metal pole.
The student and the friend in physiotherapy were then dumped on the lane. Thirteen days later Singh died from massive internal injuries in a hospital in Singapore.
“A decent girl won’t roam about at 9 pm,” one of the perpetrators later told a BBC documentary that was prohibited to screen in India.
According to official data nearly 34,000 rapes were registered in India in 2018. This is seen as the tip of the iceberg, with even more victims becoming too scared to come forward.