New Delhi: While the country is shocked yet again at the state of safety of women in the country following the gangrape of a Mumbai photojournalist, we take a look at the status of the investigation in the December 2012 Delhi rape case which had led to protests across the country and forced the government to toughen rape laws and introduce fast track court.
Six men had raped and grievously wounded a 23-year-old paramedic student inside a moving bus on the streets of Delhi in the night of December 16, 2012. Weeks after she was raped, the Delhi braveheart died in a Singapore hospital.
Cries for justice had echoed at India Gate in the capital and protests were held across India. The accused were arrested amidst rising demands for strict action against the heinous crime. In the wake of the agitation which followed the incident, Justice Verma Committee had come up with recommendations that led to a stricter law against sexual assault.
Within days of the incident, the police filed a 33-page-chargesheet against five accused Ram Singh, Mukesh Singh, Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma on January 3 and the trial began a month later on February 5
In a crucial development in the case, the main accused Ram Singh who was said to be the ringleader in the gangrape was found dead in the Tihar jail under mysterious circumstances on March 11 and proceedings against him came to an end.
The trial in the fast-track court is at the end stage while it is still under consideration whether the sixth accused should be tried as a minor or not. The juvenile board is expected to deliver its verdict on the minor accused on August 31.
In the trial that has dragged on for over 8 months, the judicial officers have attributed the delay to the attitude of the defence counsel, who has often been reprimanded for delaying tactics.
In the past few months, three of the accused Vinay, Pawan and Akshay have retracted from their statements that they had made during the time the charges were being framed against them. In contrast from their earlier statement that they were in the bus but did not rape the girl, they now claim that they were elsewhere on that fateful night.
While the prosecution is hoping that the trial will be over by August end, Thursday's incident has once again exposed that the tougher laws and fast track courts are only a part of the solution and probably there is a need to sensitise the people and make policing more women friendly.