Family of December 16 gang-rape victim wants justice, no matter how long it takes

Minutes after the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) at Delhi Gate postponed its verdict to August 5 in the December 16 gang-rape case involving a minor, the brother of the victim, who succumbed to injuries sustained during the rape and the brutal physical assault, waiting outside the court’s cramped premises stood motionless.

Though his fist remained clenched, he refused to make his obvious disappointment public to the media, eagerly waiting for a reaction from the family.

However, pressed by the media for a comment, the young boy whispered in determined voice: “We want nothing less than hanging for him [the juvenile]. The family does not care how long the court proceedings take. We want justice for my sister.”

His piece said, the boy lowered his eyes and refused to answer any more questions. “I have said what I had to say. Nothing else matters.”

The JJB, presided over by Principal Magistrate Geetanjali Goel, on Thursday morning postponed the verdict in the case considering the fact that the Supreme Court is seized of a petition concerning the interpretation of the term “juvenile”.

Rajesh Tiwari, the counsel for the accused, added that the sentence [dispositional order] in the robbery case, in which the juvenile has already been held guilty by the JJB, has also been deferred to August 5.

Aware of the importance of the case in the eyes of the public and the media alike, the Delhi Police turned the JJB court into a virtual fortress early in the morning. They brought the juvenile with his face covered in a police van and rushed him into the court premises.

While the number of mediapersons gathered from across the world swelled outside, the atmosphere inside the premises remained tense due to anticipation about the verdict and the reaction of the victim’s family to it.

So when the victim’s family — her father, mother and brother — walked in over an hour after the juvenile was brought to the court, a tight police cover ensured that the media, which scooped in for a reaction, was kept at bay.

“Wait for the verdict. The family will speak then,” was the firm police order.

The victim’s family was immediately taken inside and kept isolated from the media and others waiting for their case in the Board.

Later, only the victim’s parents were asked to come into the court, while the brother was asked to wait outside.

Standing quietly near the sheet listing cases for hearing in the court, he ran his finger down to his sister’s case and carefully read the charges against the juvenile.

Refusing to sit down even once as he waited right outside the main door of the court, where his parents were participating in the proceedings of the case, the boy would look out at the media and then turn back to speak to his relative in a hushed voice.

His nervousness continued till his parents came out and the victim’s father said: “We will fight this case till the end.”

Later, speaking to The Hindu over telephone, the father said: “Of course, I am disappointed. That does not mean I have lost faith or my determination to fight this case. My wife and I will fight with every breath in our body to ensure that the juvenile is given the maximum sentence. The family will settle for nothing less than hanging.”

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