Nirbhaya’s mother fights battle for India’s daughters

Written by: Maitreyee Boruah

New Delhi, Dec 22: In last few days, television channels have been constantly beaming the footage of a frail, but a determined woman Asha Devi's fight to give justice to rape victims.

She is the mother of Nirbhaya, the 23-­year­-old paramedical student, who was brutally gang-raped and murdered by six accused in a moving bus in Delhi in December 2013.

Asha Devi

Three years later, the case is once again hogging the limelight, as one of the accused was released from detention on Sunday, December 20.

The accused was found to be a juvenile at the time of the crime and sentenced to a maximum three years in a reform facility as per Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000.

The parents of the victim, activists and thousands of people in Delhi have come out in the open to fiercely protest the release of the juvenile convict.

Talking to media, after Supreme Court rejected a plea against the release of the juvenile convict in the case on Monday, December 21, a visibly dejected Devi said, "Despite our repeated pleas and demands for not setting the juvenile free, he has been released. We are dejected, shattered. But we will not stop and continue our fight to ensure that the other four rapists are hanged."

"Supreme Court's verdict was what we had expected. How many more rapes, how many more murders will have to take place for the government to change laws?" she added.

After massive public outcry following the release of the youngest convict in the Delhi gang-rape case, political parties have agreed to discuss the Juvenile Justice Bill in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, December 22. The bill seeks to amend the law to allow trying those over 16 years of age and accused of heinous crimes, as adults.

"It's not just my fight. I am fighting for all daughters (women and girls) of my country," said Devi, whose husband Badrinath Singh is her constant companion in her struggle. Devi also sustained injuries during her protest rallies at India Gate after she was manhandled by Delhi Police.

"This is nothing, compared to the pain and anguish we went through in three years. Police were doing their duty, I was doing mine. I will fight till justice is delivered."

In a memorial ceremony on Nirbhaya recently, her mother revealed her name to the world, saying: "My daughter was Jyoti Singh and I am not ashamed to name her."

"I am not ashamed of taking my daughter's name. Whoever has suffered should not hide their name. It is the offenders who should be ashamed and hide their name. I want to tell everyone that my daughter's name was Jyoti Singh. From today, everyone should know her as Jyoti Singh," Devi said.

Media coined the name Nirbhaya and Braveheart to honour the victim, whose case shocked the entire nation.

The juvenile convict participated in the heinous act, but because he was just shy of his 18th birthday on the night of the rape, he served only three years in custody. His sentence, many felt amounted to a severe miscarriage of justice.

OneIndia News

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