Some Lesser Known Facts About Nirbhaya
- Nirbhaya was born as Jyoti Singh in the Ballia District of Uttar Pradesh in the year 1989.
- She belonged to the Bhumihar community.
- Her family moved to Delhi after her father got a job at the Palam Airport in Delhi.
- She was raised in the Palam area of Delhi.
- After passing her 12th exam, she started preparing for the PMT (Pre Medical Test); however, she failed the test and decided to pursue her further studies in Physiotherapy. She got herself enrolled in a Physiotherapy Institute in Dehradun.
- She returned to Delhi in late 2012 and got herself enrolled in an internship program at a Physiotherapy Hospital based in Gurgaon (now Gurugram).
- On the night of 16 December 2012, she was returning to her home with her boyfriend; after watching the film “Life of Pi” in Saket, South Delhi. They boarded a white-colored private bus at Munirka for Dwarka, which was being driven by joyriders at around 9:30 pm (IST).
- When they entered the bus, they found that there were only 6 other persons on the bus, including the driver. Soon, they became suspicious as the bus deviated from its normal route. When her boyfriend objected, the 6 joyriders taunted the couple & asked what they were doing at such a late hour.
- Soon, a scuffle ensued between her boyfriend and joyriders. He was beaten with an iron rod and became unconscious. The group of men dragged Jyoti to the rear of the bus and raped her one by one.
- After half an hour, the group of men threw Jyoti and her boyfriend from the moving bus at Mahipalpur. They had also robbed both of them of their clothes and belongings.
- Nirbhaya’s postmortem reports revealed that she suffered serious injuries to her intestine, abdomen, and genitals due to the assault. Doctors also revealed that a blunt object might have been used for penetration, which was later confirmed by the police to be an L-shaped rusted rod (used as a wheel-jack-handle).
- After her initial treatment at the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi, she was moved to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore for further care where she succumbed to her injuries on 29 December 2012.
- A nationwide protest ensued after the incident. Thousands of protestors clashed with the police at the India Gate and Raisina Hill in New Delhi. Demonstrators were shot with tear gas shells and water cannons. Many countries of South Asia and the Middle-East also condemned the incident.
- On 29 December 2012, the American Embassy released a statement; offering their condolences to Nirbhaya’s family. Ban Ki-moon (the then UN Secretary-General) stated,
Violence against women must never be accepted, never excused, never tolerated. Every girl and woman has the right to be respected, valued and protected.”
- The case was investigated by a team of Delhi Police led by an IPS Officer, Chaya Sharma.
- The Team of Chaya Sharma had to face difficulties in tracing the Bus; as there were more than 1600 white-colored private buses plying on the roads of Delhi. The initial clue that the team received was that the bus had yellow curtains and red seats. On that basis, they short-listed about 300 buses and with the meticulous effort of the team, they zeroed in the targeted bus within 18 hours of the incident.
- In a swift action, the Delhi Police team led by Chaya Sharma underwent an intense search operation and arrested all the accused within 24 hours of the incident. The 6 accused were identified as Ram Singh (the driver), Mukesh Singh (Ram Singh’s brother), Vinay Sharma (an assistant gym instructor), Pawan Gupta (a fruit-seller), and a 17-year juvenile (from Badaun in Uttar Pradesh).
- In an interview, Chaya Sharma revealed that it was possible to detain the convicts just because of Nirbhaya’s consistent statements. She remembered when she first met Nirbhaya (the 23-year-old Physiotherapy-intern) in hospital; fighting for her life after being brutally raped, her attitude was striking. She further said that Nirbhaya’s attitude was very positive and she never clammed up like rape victims usually do.
Those who did this to me, do not spare them.”
These were the words that police officer Chaya Sharma heard from Nirbhaya.
- During the trial of the 6 accused, Ram Singh committed suicide in the Jail while the Juvenile was sent to the reformatory-cell.
- In December 2013, the “Nirbhaya Trust” was established by the family of the victim. The Trust’s main aim is to provide shelter and legal assistance to women who have experienced violence.
- In 2013, the US State Department awarded Nirbhaya posthumously the “International Women of Courage Award.”
- On 13 March 2014, the Delhi High Court confirmed the death sentence for all 4 men convicted.
- On 5 May 2017, the Supreme Court upheld the sentence of the Delhi High Court.
- On 7 January 2020, the Patiala House Court in Delhi ordered the hanging of the four death row convicts at 7 am on 22 January 2020. Nirbhaya’s mother had filed a plea in the Patiala House Court, through her advocates Jitendra Kumar Jha and Seema Kushwaha. In his order, additional sessions judge Satish Kumar Arora observed that the convicts had either exhausted their remedies or hadn’t exercised some of them despite being given sufficient time and opportunity.
- Reportedly, moments before the court’s order that they would hang at 7 am on January 22, the mother of one of them begged for his life. Convict Mukesh Singh’s mother walked up to Nirbhaya’s mother, held her sari in a gesture of begging, and pleaded:
Mere bete ko maaf kar do. Main uski zindagi ki bheekh maangti hoon (Please forgive my son. I am begging you for his life).”
She wept. So did Nirbhaya’s mother, who replied:
I had a daughter too. What happened with her, how can I forget? I have been waiting for justice for seven years…”
- Even though the Indian Law doesn’t allow the rape victim’s name to be revealed in Public, Nirbhaya’s mother revealed her real name (i.e., Jyoti Singh) in public on her 3rd death anniversary in 2015 at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
- In 2015, a documentary film, India’s Daughter, was made (directed & produced by Leslee Udwin), which was a part of BBC’s Storyville series. However, the film has been banned in India; as the Indian Law doesn’t permit a rape victim’s name to be published.