“Let the boy go free. This is no punishment,” said a visibly shaken and sobbing mother of the December 16 gang rape victim while speaking to the media minutes after the Juvenile Justice Board on Saturday pronounced its verdict. The Board had held the juvenile delinquent guilty of rape and murder and sent him to a correction home for three years.

The victim’s parents called the order “a shame and shocking.” “It is a crime to be born a girl in this country. Is this justice?” asked the victim’s father in a shaken voice as tears welled up in his eyes.

He said it was the delinquent, who, everyone knew, had caused pain and death to his daughter, but still he was now “virtually going scot free.”

“We have lost our daughter forever and in such a brutal manner that it disturbed the conscience of the entire nation, but the court finds it fitting to allow him to lead a complete life after a few months in a correction home. This boy was the most brutal of the attackers who raped and killed my daughter. How does the law of the land justify her death?” he asked.

An equally emotional mother of the victim, pushed aside her son as he attempted to hold her hand to steady her, and said: “No, today I want to speak to the media. The world should know the injustice that has happened here today.”

“The only thought that has kept me sane till now was that of seeing my daughter’s attackers hanged. This is no punishment. The court should have released the boy. Why make a show of putting him in a correction home for a few months. What transformation are they hoping for?” she sobbed.

“Only three years as punishment for the juvenile is unacceptable to us,” said the victim’s brother, speaking to the media for the first time. “The juvenile should be hanged, we want nothing less,” he said, firmly holding his mother’s hand.

The brutal assault on the victim, who suffered extensive external and internal injuries, had left the nation shocked and outraged. The victim was treated at the Safdarjung Hospital here for nearly two weeks and was later shifted to a medical facility in Singapore, where she died.

Street protests demanded tougher anti-rape laws which were introduced a few months ago by the government. However, despite demands there was no change in the age of delinquents, no matter what was the nature of crime committed by them, and it was retained at 18 years.

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