Zee Media Bureau/Hemant Abhishek
Call it fulfillment of a deceased`s last wish or the emancipation of thousands who either raised their voices on the streets or strongly condemned the December 16 gang-rape from within the confines of their homes. The death penalty for the four living accused of the bestial murder could bring a semblance of closure for the family of the dead physiotherapist student but the arduous battle for survival has just begun for the family of the four who have been sentenced to gallows.
The four men lived in and around Ram Das Camp, a "JJ colony" (unauthorised slum) in south Delhi. Roving camera vans, TV reporters and questioning glare of citizens over the months has led to the residents of this area complaining of the ignominy of being associated with the rapists. This in the long run could translate to an even tougher road ahead for the families of the accused.
One of the accused—Ram Singh, the driver of the bus in which the gruesome act took place and one of the main instigators of the crime— was on March 12 found hanging in his prison cell in Delhi`s Tihar jail.
The other four are —
29-year-old Mukesh is the younger brother of Ram Singh. They had moved to Delhi from Rajasthan in search of livelihood. He often worked alongwith his brother on the bus and did odd jobs. He is unmarried and reports suggested that he vehemently denied the charges throughout the proceedings.
Unlike the others, who are school dropouts, 20-year-old Vinay worked as a help at a gym in the locality and wished to appear for an entrance test of Indian Air Force. While in jail he was assaulted in the jail and suffered a fractured left hand.
19-year-old Pawan Gupta sold fruits for a living but worked as labourer on roads and construction sites. He was known as a friend of Ram Singh and was arrested from the Ram Das Camp area, where he lived with his cousin, the morning after the rape incident.
The 28-year-old resident of Bihar`s Aurangabad is married and has a two-year-old son. He had fled from Delhi on December 17, but was arrested from his father-in-law`s village in Bihar. He too worked as a helper with Ram Singh and at a brick kiln and local liquor factory.
Those in his village said they were angry over the heinous deed, but also felt bad looking at his innocent wife and two-year-old son whose long and insecure journey in life will be riddled with hardships.
As he was only 17-year-old at the time of the attack, the minor was not named for legal reasons and was sentenced to three years in a correctional facility.
He had run away from his poverty-stricken home in Uttar Pradesh at the age of 11 and while in Delhi cleaned Ram Singh`s bus and slept inside the vehicle.
His mother told the police that he was the eldest of her six children and that she had no contact with him during his time in the capital where he had no fixed job or address and often slept rough.