Pain, agony and judicial battle: How Nirbhaya's mother brought justice to her daughter
New Delhi, Mar 20: "Today's dawn will be a new dawn for daughters of India", said Asha Devi Nirbhaya's mom, who has been fighting every day since 2012 to get justice for her daughter.
The four convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case were hanged to death at 5:30 am in Delhi's Tihar jail on Friday, bringing the curtains down on the drama surrounding the execution that saw the death warrants cancelled thrice on various grounds over the last two-and-a-half months.
"Finally they have been hanged, it was a long struggle. Today we got justice, this day is dedicated to the daughters of the country. I thank the judiciary and government," said Asha Devi.
"I hugged my daughter's photo," Asha Devi said. "The beasts have been hanged."
Hailing from a small town in Uttar Pradesh, she has been a women of grit and determination. She has inspired many women to come out of their shell and fight back against injustice and violence against women.
December 16, 2012, was not a normal day for her. On this day Asha Devi's identity changed. She became synonymous with Nirbhaya and she became the daughter of the nation.
The whole country came together to fight for her and it was Asha Devi who kept the fire burning, however, today's judgement has brought some solace to her.
However, Asha Devi's eight-year-long journey to get justice for her daughter was not an easy one. Lashing out and slamming the liberals for debating against death penalty to an emotional breakdown at the court, she handled every criticism as a fierce lioness.
Asha Devi's fight against the govt
At times when the court verdicts were delayed, she took on the government and accused BJP and AAP of playing politics and alleged that the hanging of convicts of 2012 gang-rape case, is being deliberately postponed.
"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," the angry mother had said.
Asha Devi takes on Sangliana
Asha Devi responded fiercely to former DGP of Karnataka Police H T Sangliana's recent comments about her physique via an open letter.
Sangliana had advised women to 'surrender' while facing sexual assault, explaining that this way, their lives could be spared by the attackers.
He had said, "I see Nirbhaya's mother, she has such a good physique. I can just imagine how beautiful Nirbhaya would have been." The comments had drawn widespread outrage, but the former MP has defended his comments.
Slamming his comments, she wrote in a Hindi daily that the former MP's advice to girls disrespected the fight her daughter put up before her death. She adds that Sangliana had displayed the regressive attitude of our society, and likened his thinking to that of Nirbhaya's rapists.
She also termed Sangliana's comments on her own physique and linking it to Nirbhaya as 'inappropriate'.
How dare is Indira Jaising?
Asha Devi has hit out at senior lawyer Indira Jaising for requesting her to "forgive" the convicts and stop their execution.
"Can't believe how Indira Jaising even dared to suggest such this. I met her many times over the years in Supreme Court, not once did she ask for my wellbeing and today she is speaking for convicts. Such people make a living by supporting rapists, hence rape incidents don't stop," Asha Devi told news agency ANI.
"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 added.
Asha Devi's no to politics
When her popularity rose, there were talks of her joining politics. But Nirbhayas mother denied the offer and said that she has no interest in politics and also denied to have spoken to anyone in Congress.
When asked about reports her entry into politics during Delhi elections 2020, Asha Devi said, "I have no interest in politics. I have not spoken to anyone in Congress. I only want justice for my daughter and the execution of the convicts."
The 7-year wait: Asha Devi never lost faith in judiciary and it paid off
After years of struggle and toil coupled with a number of hearings in respective fast-track courts, justice was served after the hanging of all the four convicts. Despite the procedural delays, Asha Devi never lost the trust in our judiciary. She stood like a rock despite all the hindrances in their battle for her daughter's justice.
The 2012 attack on the 23-year-old physiotherapy student, who came to be known as "Nirbhaya" or "fearless', had shocked India and triggered widespread protests.