Social media today went abuzz with excitement as the Supreme Court confirmed the death sentence given to four men convicted in the December 16, 2012, gangrape of a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern. “Finally, justice for Nirbhaya,” posts and tweets said, almost assuming anthemic proportions.
Social media sites reacted to the dramatic capping of events stretching for nearly five years that saw, by turns, an outraged nation spilling on to the streets, a riveting legal battle which brought the spotlight on capital punishment, and eventually a significant verdict by the apex court.
“Finally! Justice for #Nirbhaya,” tweeted a user of a popular Twitter handle, using the words that had become a rallying cry during the tumultuous protests after the incident.
The user also posted a picture of the victim’s mother paying tribute to her daughter at a memorial, with a caption that read — “After 4 years, 4 months, 18 days, many protests tears, pain & struggle, the soul of the daughter of India & sister of Indians will rest in peace.”
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Another user tweeted, “This is justice for #Nirbhaya but justice in true sense would only be when society doesn’t allow another #Nirbhaya to happen! Jai Ho.”
A tweeter said, “We don’t want another daughter of India to be raped & molested. We really don’t. I hope SC will give justice to India’s daughter #Nirbhaya.”
The court room today broke into applause as the verdict was read out, with judges describing the incident as “most brutal, barbaric and diabolic” which could create a “tsunami of shock” to destroy a civilised society.
The sentiments were almost mirrored on social media sites as people took to Twitter and Facebook to hail the judgement, which some believed would deter crime.
A journalist tweeted, “Entire court room broke into applause as judge announced the verdict, not something I’ve seen covering courts #Nirbhaya.”
Some netizens demanded that she be addressed by her actual name, as also desired by her parents, and not as Nirbhaya, a name given by the media.
“Her name is…, not #Nirbhaya or #Damini, call her by her own name as justice is done in her memory & her convicts hanged,” tweeted another user.
But a section of people also asked why Bilkis Bano and Ehsan Jafri — victims of anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat in 2002 — could not be treated similarly.
“Problem with ‘collective conscience’ standard is that one bench decides it is outraged for Nirbhaya, another does not for Bano,” said Supreme Court advocate Karuna Nundy in her tweet.
“A desire for death penalty & justice for #Nirbhaya do u also agree on death penalty for those who gangraped Bilkis Bano & killed her child,” asked another Twitter user.