NEW DELHI: Indian rights groups voiced dismay yesterday over death sentences handed to four men for a fatal gang rape, saying it was unlikely to reverse the country’s “rape crisis” despite a public clamour for their execution.
After a seven-month fast-track trial, Judge Yogesh Khanna said on Friday the four men should be “hanged by the neck till they are dead” for the brutal rape of a 23-year-old woman on a bus last December. Soon after the sentencing, people distributed sweets in the streets in celebration and tweeted that “justice” had been served.
But yesterday, rights network Avaaz slammed the sentencing, urging the government instead to launch a mass public education campaign to stop India’s “rape epidemic”.
“Executing these men won’t bring back the woman they raped or reverse India’s rape crisis. The only way to stop rape before it starts is with a massive public education campaign,” the online activist network said.
Newspapers splashed the sentencing on their front pages along with mug shots of the four convicts whose crime shocked the nation and triggered weeks of street protests.
“Showed no mercy, got no mercy” screamed a banner headline in the English Hindustan Times while the Times of India said: “Death for four for dastardly, diabolical, brutal crime”.
In the lead-up to the sentencing, there had been a huge outcry for the four — Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta, and Mukesh Singh — to be executed for their attack on the physiotherapy student and her male companion on December 16.
The newspapers, however, wondered if handing down the death penalty in rape cases would make women any safer across the country. AFP