“We stand for child rights, but it is our right to know whether he has reformed or not,”said Dr Ranjana Kumari, activist and Director, CSR, to dna. She added, “we are against capital punishment and their should be a debate on it. However, one has to go by the law of the land, and according to that, we want the highest punishment for all accused.”
Nirbhaya’s parents Badrinath Singh and Asha Devi
At a highly charged remembrance meeting for ‘Nirbhaya’ on the third anniversary of the December 16 gangrape, the mother of the victim asked that justice be done for her daughter, and that all accused, including the former juvenile be hanged. Asha Devi also publicly declared Nirbhaya’s name –Jyoti Singh –saying she was “not ashamed to name her”.Organised by a group of citizens calling themselves Justice Seekers, with the involvement of gender rights group Centre for Social Research (CSR), the demonstration brought together many public and political figures to commemorate Jyoti. In a palpably angry atmosphere, most of these big names repeated that justice had not been done, not to Nirbhaya nor to other women attacked and assaulted. The feeling seemed exacerbated by the fact the juvenile accused, now a 21 year old man is set to walk free after three years in a juvenile home.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We stand for child rights, but it is our right to know whether he has reformed or not,”said Dr Ranjana Kumari, activist and Director, CSR, to dna. She added, “we are against capital punishment and their should be a debate on it. However, one has to go by the law of the land, and according to that, we want the highest punishment for all accused.”Former police officer Kiran Bedi, Congresswomen Kiran Walia and Sharmishta Mukherjee, Delhi Commission for Women Swati Maliwal, among others spoke out against the rates of crimes against women and the fact that nothing seemed to have changed in Delhi all these years. Mukherjee called for gender sensitisation at all levels, at home, in schools and offices, Walia pushed for closer monitoring of trials so that delays can be countered.Maliwal brought up cases of minor girls being gangraped as examples of the increasing crime rates, and her own investigations into delhi police data –only 9 accused were convicted in sexual assault cases in 2014 out of 11000 FIRs registered, and in Delhi’s only forensic lab, 1500 samples had gone bad potentially damaging many cases that could be on crimes against women.However, Maliwal was interrupted in her speech by Kumari; it seemed the latter, and other organisers, feared that Maliwal was being too confrontational against other parties.Jyoti’s mother too asked that rape not be politicised, instead her demands be met. All accused be hanged, all cases of sexual assault be fast tracked from the apex court to the lower court and the Nirbhaya fund be used to build more forensic laboratories in Delhi and other states. Kumari added another demand, that Jyoti’s parents be given protection. In the ongoing Parliament session, in Lok sabha, BJP Member of Parliament Hema Malini pronounced her sentence on the juvenile, saying his mind was “devilish”. She asked that he be treated as an adult for his crime as, according to her, he did more harm to Nirbhaya. This fact, though previously reported in the media, has been disputed by women’s groups and child rights’ activists based on the Juvenile Justice Boards’ observations.