The Nirbhaya rape and murder in 2012 sparked an international uproar over crimes against women. Five years later, such monstrous acts of violence prevail, with the perpetrators still fearless despite death sentences.
- Raped, tortured, murdered, run over by a car, ravaged by dogs
- Spurned lover main suspect
- Allegation that police ignored earlier complaint of harassment
A quick flashback to 2012 where 23-year-old physiotherapy intern Jyoti Singh was beaten, gang-raped and tortured by six men in a private bus she was travelling in with a male friend in Delhi. She died from horrific internal injuries in a Singapore hospital where she had been transferred for emergency treatment.
Since there is a law in India that does not allow the press to publicise a rape victim’s name, she has become widely known as “Nirbhaya”, meaning “fearless”, and her life and death have come to symbolise women’s struggle to end the rape culture.
The incident sparked a furore all over the world for its brutality, with widespread protests in India. New laws were passed and now there improved protection for women in India.
On May 5, the court upheld the death sentence verdict of the four convicts. One had died in police custody, and another – a juvenile – had served three years in a reform facility.
You would think that a death sentence would deter such barbaric crimes against women – sadly, no.
In a suburb of Delhi on 9 May, a 23-year-old Dalit woman left her home for work at a pharmaceutical factory and was never seen alive again.
As heinous as the Nirbhaya case, she was alleged to have been kidnapped, brutally raped, had her face smashed with bricks, run over by a car, and her body dumped in a desolated place and ravaged by stray dogs.
Two men have been arrested so far – her jilted suitor, Sumit Kumar, who has allegedly confessed to the hideous crime, along with his friend Vikras, allegedly one of his partners in crime.
According to the police, Sumit and the victim were in a relationship but she didn’t want to marry him and he lost it. He wanted revenge.
On camera, Sumit said, “I was in love with her and she also loved me. There was some altercation between us and I killed her with a brick.”
According to police officials, CCTV footage of the factory on 9 May captured the victim leaving with the two men, believing that they were going to show her a lake.
During interrogation, Sumit admitted that instead they took her to a hotel and raped her for a day after giving her a drink laced with sedatives.
Apparently, despite being drowsy and sexually abused, she told the men that she would not hesitate to inform the cops and have them arrested. This angered Summit further and they tortured her again. They then smashed her face with bricks in a bid to conceal her identity, brought her to a deserted area, ran their car over her body to further hide her identity and left her there to be gnawed by dogs.
The victim’s mutilated body was discovered by passers-by two days after she was taken from the factory.
Police officials said that stray dogs had bitten off the face and the lower portion of her body when she was found.
Autopsy findings revealed a face not at all identifiable, skull bones shattered into pieces, missing oesophagus, and a sharp-edged weapon inserted into the victim’s private parts. The forensic team believed she was raped by at least seven people.
Police said that six other parties – five being relatives of Sumit – are currently being investigated after the victim’s mother accused them of being involved.
A controversy has been brewing over the murder case, with the Haryana police coming under a “cloud”.
The victim’s relatives have alleged that police ignored a complaint lodged against Sumit before the crime occurred.
“He (Sumit) used to waylay my daughter and intimidate her with a pistol. Finally, she slapped him a few days ago out of exasperation. He said he will come back for revenge, which he did. Had police arrested Sumit when we lodged a complaint against him months ago, this would not have happened.”
The police, however, denied the allegation.
“Some time back, the victim and her mother told us that the main suspect was harassing her with demands of marriage. It was done verbally – there was no written complaint.
“Moreover, the two came down to the police station later to say that there was no need for police action because they had struck a compromise,” police said.
Haryana Chief Minister said that the hearing will be conducted in a fast-track court, adding that “such kind of heinous crimes would not be tolerated at any cost in a civilised society and the guilty would be punished.”
Many public figures, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, expressed “deep shock” over the incident.
Gandhi’s statement said: “This savage and bone-chilling incident has shocked the conscience of the nation, reminding each one of us about the crying need for revisiting the important issue of women’s safety and security.”
The chief minister also promised strict action against those involved in the purported rape of a 22-year-old Sikkim woman. She was allegedly raped by three men in a moving car and thrown out on a road in Delhi on May 14.
These two cases have occurred barely a month after the Haryana government launched Operation Durga to stop harassment of women.
Recently, after the court upheld the death sentence of her daughter’s perpetrators, Nirbhaya’s mother launched a foundation that offers free legal aid to female victims of violence. She said, “My daughter got justice from the legal system. I will now strive to ensure that more daughters of our country get the same.”
Watch the trailer of the touching BBC documentary India’s Daughter, which is on the Nirbhaya case and that has been banned in India, where chillingly, one of the convicts blamed the incident on the victim.