Millennium Post

4 convicts hanged 7 years after brutal crime

New Delhi: More than seven years after a 23-year-old medical student was gang-raped in a moving bus in the national Capital, four men convicted for the brutal assault were hanged on Friday morning. Akshay Kumar Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Mukesh Singh were hanged at 5:30 am at Tihar Jail, hours after the Supreme Court, in a midnight hearing, refused to grant them relief and stay their executions. The four were hanged simultaneously, a first in the history of the Tihar, marking the closure of a horrific chapter that shook the nation's collective core with the details of its barbarity and led to tougher anti-rape laws.

As news of the execution came in, finally delivering hard-won justice to her family and to an outraged nation, her mother let out a sigh of relief that her quest for justice was over at last.

"We finally got justice. We will continue our fight for justice for India's daughters. Justice delayed, but not denied," Asha Devi told reporters at her home after a sleepless night that also saw the Supreme Court holding an extraordinary hearing that continued till 3.30 am.

Minutes before the execution, Mukesh said he would like to donate his organs while Vinay wanted his paintings, done during his years in jail, to be given to the Jail Superintendent and his 'Hanuman Chalisa' to his family, another official said.

Recapping the convicts' last hours, a jail official said Vinay and Mukesh had dinner but none of the four had breakfast or a bath before they were led to the gallows.

"Vinay and Mukesh had their dinner properly on time. The meal comprised roti, dal, rice and sabzi. Akshay had tea in the evening but did not have dinner," the official said.

The four convicts showed no signs of anxiety in the evening, he added.

Jail officials said the bodies were kept hanging for half-an-hour, a mandatory procedure after execution in accordance with the prison manual. The bodies were taken to the DDU Hospital for post-mortem and then handed to the families for the last rites.

According to a senior jail official, Akshay's body was taken to his village at Aurangabad in Bihar.

"The family members of Mukesh took his body to Rajasthan. The bodies of Vinay and Pawan were shifted to their houses at Ravidas Camp in south Delhi," he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi echoed the grieving mother and said justice had prevailed. It was of the utmost importance to ensure the dignity and safety of women, he added.

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