New Delhi: Fresh death warrants were issued on Friday evening against the four convicts – Akshay Singh, Pawan Gupta, Mukesh and Vinay Sharma – in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case. Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora scheduled the execution for 6 AM on February 1, Saturday. The new death warrants are dated to exactly 14 days from today, in accordance with a law that states convicts to be executed must have a reprieve from the time their mercy plea is turned down. Also Read - 'Nirbhaya Convicts Couldn't be Hanged in Time,' Smriti Irani Targets AAP; Arvind Kejriwal Says Not The Time to do Politics

“The case presents a scenario where the convicts have been given an opportunity to file mercy petition and exercise the legal remedies. However, only one of them has preferred the mercy petition. How much can we delay it?” the court asked. Also Read - Nirbhaya Case: Delhi Court Issues Fresh Death Warrant, Convicts to be Hanged on Feb 1 at 6 am

Besides, Arora also junked a plea by Mukesh Singh, one of the convicts, to postpone the hanging scheduled for January 22. Notably, the fresh warrants were issued mere hours after President Ram Nath Kovind rejected a mercy plea filed by the same rapist.

Following the rejection of the mercy plea of convict Mukesh by the President, prosecution had moved an application seeking issuance of fresh death warrants. “None of the petitions of any convict is pending before any forum. So my prayer is that new death warrants be issued for execution of the four convicts,” said Public Prosecutor Irfan Ahmed while filing the application.

‘Will not be satisfied until they are hanged’

Meanwhile, Nirbhaya’s mother Asha Devi expressed her dissatisfaction after the date of execution was extended.  Alleging that India’s judicial system only listens to the convicts, Nirbhaya’s mother said,”I am disappointed with the court, the government and the whole system. I don’t know if they will be hanged or date of their execution will be further extended.”

She also rued that the convicts got what they wished for. “I will not be satisfied until they are hanged”, Asha Devi vowed.

Blame Game Begins 

The BJP and the AAP engaged in a war of words over delay in the hanging of the four convicts. While Union Minister Smriti Irani categorically blamed the Delhi government for the postponement of the hanging, AAP convener and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asserted that now is not the time to do politics.

“Why was the prison department, which comes under the AAP government, sleeping after the dismissal of review petition in July 2018? Why did the government give Rs 10,000 and a sewing kit to the juvenile rapist when he was released? Didn’t they see tears of Nirbhaya’s mother?”news agency ANI quoted Irani as saying.

“I want to tell the Aam Aadmi Party that after the rejection of the review petition, because of you the convicts couldn’t be hanged in time. Such parties should be shamed- this is not only my party’s view but also of every law-abiding citizen of the country,” she added.

Hitting back at Irani, Kejriwal asserted that both the state and the centre should try to make sure that the convicts are hanged at the earliest.

“Prakash Javadekar Ji had said something, Smriti Irani Ji also said something else…No good will come from blaming each other. We have to make a system where rapists are hanged within 6 months of the crime,” the Delhi CM stated.

What Happened on Dec 16, 2012?

On the intervening night of December 16 and December 17, 2012, Nirbhaya, a 23-year-old paramedic student, was brutally gang-raped and assaulted inside a moving bus near nationa capital’s Munirka area by six persons before being dumped on the road. Two weeks later on December 29, she succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital.

Within 48 hours of the crime, the Delhi police arrested all the six accused and charged them with sexual assault and murder. While the prime accused in the case, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide inside Tihar Jail, one of the convicts, a minor, who was just short of 18 when the crime took place appeared before the juvenile justice court and released after three years in a reform home.