New Delhi: Distressed and in tears as Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Friday deferred the hanging of the four Nirbhaya convicts yet again, Asha Devi, the mother of the 2012 Delhi gang-rape victim, said that she will continue to fight until the accused are executed. The four convicts were scheduled to be executed on tomorrow in Tihar Jail.
Speaking to reporters after the court’s decision, Asha Devi noted how the convicts’ lawyer AP Singh bragged to her in open court that ‘the execution will never happen’. “The lawyer of the convicts, AP Singh, has challenged me saying that the convicts will never be executed. I will continue my fight. The government will have to execute the convicts,” she said.
This is the second time the execution has been delayed, after the Delhi Court already shifted the date from January 22 to February 1. The development comes minutes after Pawan Gupta’s claim of being a minor at the time of the offence was dismissed by the Supreme Court.
On Wednesday, the fourth and final convict in the gruesome Nirbhaya gangrape case, Vinay Sharma, filed a mercy plea before President Ram Nath Kovind challenging his death sentence after the Supreme Court rejected petitions of the remaining three members.
As Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana heard the arguments, Tihar jail authorities asserted that only one convict’s mercy plea is pending, so others can be hanged. In counter, the convicts’ lawyer said when one convict’s plea is pending, rules dictate that others cannot be hanged.
The four convicts – Mukesh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) – were scheduled to be executed on January 22. It was delayed as Mukesh filed a mercy plea with the President. As per prison rules, a death row convict can only be hanged 14 days after the rejection of his mercy petition.