The gruesome gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on 16 December 2012 – or the Nirbhaya case – stirred India's collective conscience. But 10 years on, the battle for women's safety in the country is far from won.
As we remember Nirbhaya's struggle – and that of any woman who has been a victim of gender-based violence, The Quint is reposting articles and videos from our coverage of the case over the years.
“She was a strong person, and whatever happened in the bus she explained word-by-word. Because of her dying declaration, the perpetrators got convicted.”
In December 2012, Rajender Singh was in-charge of a special task force in Delhi, when he was called by the then-DCP Chhaya Sharma to immediately rush to Munirka in south Delhi. A 23-year-old woman had been brutally gang raped – and Singh was asked to report to the hospital where she was and immediately start the investigation.
It was a crime which shook the nation.
Two key investigators out of the 41-member team of Delhi Police officers speak to The Quint about how they cracked the Nirbhaya case and the intense pressure to solve the crime.
‘Angered at What Happened, But Maintained Objectivity’
On 9 May 2017, the team who investigated the Nirbhaya case was felicitated by Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik. Speaking at the event, Patnaik told PTI:
"Not only did the officers crack it in a record time, they followed it up with collection of scientific evidence, systematic and painstaking work that led to a conviction in the case."
The team has also said that they will be training their counterparts on how to frame charge sheets in complex rape cases. Rajendra Singh recalled how hard it was to conduct an investigation with continuing protests and media scrutiny.
"We delivered against all odds – from facing media and public outrage to handling law and order situation. We were not given safe passage to our offices, there were heavy crowds and we had to jump over our walls from the back to reach our office."Rajender Singh to The Quint
Talking to PTI, Singh said that they were ‘shocked and angered’ at the brutality of the crime, but “maintained our objectivity” and “focused their anger into the probe.”
How the Case Was Cracked
The case was cracked when a bus was traced from a total of 381 white buses on the basis of a CCTV footage procured from the spot in Mahipalpur. This was the spot where the accused had dumped the victims.
Singh said that the wheel cap of the front tyre of the bus was missing and the vehicle had 'Yadav' written on it. Delhi Police relied on matching the DNA found on the victim's body to those of the accused and using odontology, a branch of forensic science on bite mark analysis to make a strong case.
The then-SHO of Vasant Vihar police station, Anil Kumar Sharma, said that through the long years the case was in court, the police team and the family forged a lifelong bond. He told PTI:
"Her family was there when I lost my loved ones. Yesterday, her mother visited us and spent a couple of hours with my family. We forged a strong bond."
(With PTI inputs)
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam