Uncomfortable Quiet in Ravidas Camp as Nirbhaya Convicts’ Families Say They Want to Be Left Alone


New Delhi: “There is nothing left for us to say, please leave us alone,” said the elderly father of Vinay Sharma, one of the convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case, as he shut the door to his small, unusually dark home at the Ravidas Camp here.

Hours after a Delhi court issued death warrants against the four death row convicts — Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Kumar Singh — an eerie quiet loomed over the settlement where they lived with their families.

Some women standing in groups shared nervous glances whenever a stranger entered the colony. “Everything is fine here,” said a middle-aged woman upon being approached, before signalling to the others to disperse.

“Sab shaant hai yahan (it’s all quiet here),” was the only thing several residents of the colony said.

A Delhi court on Tuesday issued the death warrants against the four convicts, bringing to an end the prolonged legal battle following the horrific gang rape of a 23-year-old paramedic student in a moving bus here on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012. She died days later in a Singapore hospital.

A whirlwind of protests from all quarters of civil society had erupted after the incident.

While the widowed mother of brothers Ram Singh and Mukesh Singh has left the locality and gone back to her family in Rajasthan, the families of Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta still live in the slum colony.

The narrow lanes leading to the houses of Sharma and Gupta stood deserted.

Afraid of picking up a fight with the convicts’ mothers, one woman stood behind a curtain and pointed towards Gupta’s house. “Maybe, they will talk to you,” she said.

“They fight with the neighbours who talk to the media. You people will leave once this is all over but we have to stay here only,” she said.

Gupta’s family too refused to talk to any outsider.

A group of men sitting outside a shop lauded the court’s decision.

“It was long overdue,” said Dharmveer (name changed), adding that there was no reason to cry over the “inevitable” execution.

“It is not like they were denied legal options. The case took its time, everything was done by the book. They were given every chance to defend themselves and even seek mercy,” he said.

A Delhi court had sentenced the four convicts to death on September 13, 2013. In the years that followed, the convicts’ appeals to the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court were rejected.

In 2018, the Supreme Court rejected a review petition filed by three of the convicts except Akshay Singh, whose petition was dismissed on December 18 last year.

Another resident referred to recent a encounter in Hyderabad in which four men accused of rape and murder were killed.

“At least they (Nirbhaya case convicts) were not shot dead in the street like what happened in Hyderabad. If you have done wrong you will not be spared. Why do you think people like Asaram and Ram Rahim are behind the bars,” he argued.

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