As campaigning picks up steam in Delhi with leaders motivating people to exercise their franchise, Asha Devi and Badri Nath Singh, the parents of the woman who was gangraped and killed and came to be known as Nirbhaya, say they might not vote this time at all.
The couple, the face of courage in the face of impossible odds, said they are tired of parties promising them justice and doing nothing about it.
The sympathy expressed by the parties and their promises have been just a “political gimmick” as the culprits are still alive, said the parents of the paramedic student who was gangraped on the night of December 16, 2012, and died of her grievous injuries 11 days later in a Singapore hospital.
The streets, the couple added, continue to be unsafe for the city’s women and children.
Successive governments have not done enough to implement measures for the safety of women and children who continue to be “victims of bestiality”, they alleged.
“CCTV cameras are yet to be installed… the country is still unsafe, mothers still worry till their daughters return home.
“People have no faith in the system. All the governments have failed us. I don’t feel like voting for any party this time,” Asha Devi told PTI.
It has been seven years since her daughter was raped and murdered brutally but the judgment of the death sentence is yet to be implemented, she said.
“Nothing has changed. This time I don’t even feel like going to cast my ballot. My faith in the system has been shaken,” said her husband.
“All parties talk about women’s dignity and empowerment but have no road map and they lack the will to do what they promise. At the end of the day, it remains only our pain, our struggle, our battle and our helplessness,” he added.
Dispirited and cynical, Mr Singh said elections give political parties the opportunity to come up with “hollow” promises. They mislead people for their own interests and put the promises in cold storage, the still grieving father added.
He said the Nirbhaya Fund, a corpus announced by the Union government in 2013 budget, has not been “properly utilised”.
“The situation continues to be grave as street lights do not function in several areas and still there are several dark spots in the city making women vulnerable travelling in the night,” he said.
Mr Singh said autorickshaw drivers either refuse to go the distance or charge exorbitant rates while police patrolling has not increased.
Five men, out of the six accused, were awarded death sentence in September 2013. This was upheld by the Delhi High Court in 2014.
One of the accused, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide in jail and another, a juvenile, was convicted of rape and murder and given the maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment in a reform facility.
In December last year, the top court dismissed a petition seeking directions for the immediate execution of the four men convicted in the case.
On July 9 last year, the top court dismissed the pleas of three convicts – Mukesh, 31, Pawan Gupta, 24, and Vinay Sharma, 25, – seeking review of its 2017 verdict upholding the capital punishment awarded to them by the Delhi High Court.
The fourth death row convict, Akshay Kumar Singh, 33, has not filed a review plea in the top court.
Asha Devi and her husband have moved Delhi’s Patiala House Court to fast-track the procedure to hang the four convicts.
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