News / Asia

Death Penalty for Four Convicted in India Gang Rape

  • Demonstrators hold a sign outside a court where four men were sentence to death for a gang rape, New Delhi, Sept. 13, 2013.
  • A demonstrator shouts slogans outside a court where four men were sentenced to death for a gang rape case, New Delhi, Sept. 13, 2013.
  • A woman writes on a poster demanding death by hanging for the four men convicted in the fatal gang rape of a young woman on a New Delhi bus last year, outside a court in New Delhi, Sept. 11, 2013.
  • Delhi police secure a gate after protesters broke through a police barrier and entered the court complex demanding the death penalty for the four men convicted in the fatal gang rape of a young woman, New Delhi, Sept. 11, 2013.
  • Protesters shout slogans outside a court in New Delhi, Sept. 11, 2013.
  • Defense lawyer A.P. Singh reacts to a protester heckling him for defending a convict in the fatal gang rape of a young woman on a New Delhi bus last year, outside a court in New Delhi, Sept. 11, 2013.
4 Men Sentenced to Death in India Gang Rape
Aru Pande
In the Indian capital, a judge has sentenced four men to death in connection with the brutal gang rape and murder of a young woman late last year. The attack shook India, with many watching to see if justice would be done and whether the attention surrounding the case would translate to actual change in how crimes against women are addressed.
Calls to hang the convicts by the woman’s parents and the public were answered Friday when the four men, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta, Akshay Thakur, Mukesh Singh, received the death penalty in the fast-track court.
In his guilty verdict earlier in the week, Judge Yogesh Khanna noted the depravity of the crime, with the men using iron rods to brutalize and “intentionally” kill the “helpless victim.”
Brutal Gang Rape Shocks India


  • Dec. 16: Victim is gang-raped and beaten on a bus in New Delhi
  • Dec. 20: Protests intensify and spread
  • Dec. 29: Victim dies in Singapore hospital


  • Jan. 2: Five suspects charged with rape and murder
  • Jan. 17: Case against five suspects sent to special fast-track court
  • Jan. 23: Government panel calls for new sexual assault laws
  • Jan. 28: Panel rules sixth suspect will be tried as a juvenile
  • Feb. 2: The five accused being tried in the fast-track court plead not guilty
  • Mar. 11: Indian police say one of the suspects killed himself in jail
  • Aug. 31: Juvenile suspect found guilty
  • Sept. 10: Remaining four suspects found guilty
  • Sept. 13: Court sentences the four to death by hanging
The 23-year-old woman was returning home from a movie with a male friend in New Delhi when they accepted a ride on a private bus. The details of what followed the night of December 16 shocked the nation. The woman was repeatedly raped and tortured, her friend badly beaten. Both were thrown off the bus, bloody and battered. The young physiotherapy student died two weeks later at a Singapore hospital.
Following the attack, people poured onto the streets of major Indian cities in angry demonstrations. Political scientist Radha Kumar, director of the Delhi Policy Group, said the public fury delegitimized the “awful legitimacy” society often gives acts of violence against women, with many identifying with the young woman and her story.
“The name itself is symbolic, that they called her 'braveheart,' " noted Kumar.  "She was not a victim, she was a fighter. She struggled for everything. She struggled for her education, she struggled for a job, she struggled to have a life in the city.”
And this struggle is the same for so many other women, particularly in New Delhi, who say they feel unsafe whether it be on a public bus or walking home after dark.
Prompted by the December gang rape, the Delhi Policy Group put out a gender scorecard last month to examine the status of women using indicators such as sex ratio, health, education, political representation, decision-making, employment and crime. India failed in all categories except employment.
The report found crimes against women have increased 25 percent from 2008 to more than 244,000 reported cases in 2012.  New Delhi retains the infamous title of the rape capital of India.
The gender scorecard found that not only are crimes against women under-reported, the conviction rate for cases that make it to court are only about 24 percent.
In response to the December 16 gang rape and the protests surrounding the attack, the government passed anti-rape laws and set up special fast-track courts in the capital.
Prominent women’s rights activist and director of the New Delhi-based Center for Social Research Ranjana Kumari said the police investigation, seven-month trial, conviction and sentencing of the men involved in the brutal attack will serve as a key precedent for the 90,000 rape cases that are still pending nationwide.
“My hope is that every rapist will be punished," Kumari said. "All 90,000 girls who are awaiting some conviction, some judgment will be delivered a judgment quickly and they don’t have to wait endlessly to get the judgment, their family also needs justice.”
On a cultural front, Kumari said the case and the attention surrounding it may help shift attitudes in that women may be less likely to remain silent on rape and other sexual assaults at the risk of being deemed “impure” by society.
“That is why women don’t report [sexual assaults], because of social shame and parents want to hush up cases," noted Kumari. " After this, I definitely think there are a lot more women who are already reporting and will report in the future.”
As for the four men who received the death penalty for the December 16 attack, their sentence must be confirmed by the Delhi High Court.  Their lawyer says they will appeal.
The parents of their victim tell reporters that their daughter has finally received justice but that the fight is far from over.

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Comment Sorting
by: Narmadha Devi from: chennai
September 14, 2013 4:55 AM
What is required is elimination of all kinds of discrimination against women from the mindsets & behavior of all members of a community. This is of course a long process and there can’t be a simple and fast track solution like capital punishment for violence against women, which is only a symptom of the age old disease patriarchy. Both the brave heart as well as the six perpetrators including the juvenile and the one who committed suicide are victims of the patriarchal mindset.

by: Plain Mirror Intl from: Plain planet- Africa
September 13, 2013 11:40 AM
Oh, the peoples' voices have been heared! This is Justice! More of this type of judgement would bring the pride and reputation of women in India back on the rightful track. Execute more of the beasts in India for the women to have their rightful place and freedom in the society. The girl once again lives and her memories live... . Justice has been done!

by: Lilly from: England
September 13, 2013 10:35 AM
Justice has been done!!

India I salute you.

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