NEW DELHI, March 20 - Four men convicted of gang-raping and murdering a young Delhi woman, who came to be known as Nirbhaya, were hanged in pre-dawn darkness on Friday, closing a horrific chapter that shook the nation�s collective core with the details of its barbarity and led to tougher anti-rape laws.
Mukesh Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) were executed at 5.30 am in Tihar Jail, eight years after the cold winter night of December 16, 2012 when the 23-year-old intern was raped in a bus that moved through the streets of the National Capital.
As news of the execution came in, finally delivering hard-won justice to her family and to an outraged nation, her mother let out a sigh of relief that her quest for justice was over at last.
�We finally got justice. We will continue our fight for justice for India�s daughters. Justice delayed, but not denied,� Asha Devi told reporters at her home after a sleepless night that also saw the Supreme Court holding an extraordinary hearing that continued till 3.30 am.
Minutes before the execution, Mukesh said he would like to donate his organs while Vinay wanted his paintings, done during his years in jail, to be given to the jail superintendent and his �Hanuman Chalisa� to his family, another official said.
Recapping the convicts� last hours, a jail official said Vinay and Mukesh had dinner but none of the four had breakfast or a bath before they were led to the gallows.
�Vinay and Mukesh had their dinner properly on time. The meal comprised roti, dal, rice and sabzi. Akshay had tea in the evening but did not have dinner,� the official said.
The four convicts showed no sign of anxiety in the evening, he added.
Jail officials said the bodies were kept hanging for half an hour, a mandatory procedure after execution in accordance with the prison manual. The bodies were taken to the DDU Hospital for post-mortem and then handed to the families for the last rites.
According to a senior jail official, Akshay�s body was taken to his village at Aurangabad in Bihar.
�The family members of Mukesh took his body to Rajasthan. The bodies of Vinay and Pawan were shifted to their houses at Ravidas Camp in south Delhi,� he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi echoed the grieving mother and said justice had prevailed. It was of the utmost importance to ensure the dignity and safety of women, he added.
Nirbhaya was raped and brutalised by six men who dumped her on the road and left her for dead. Her friend who was with her was also severely beaten and thrown out.
She was so severely violated her insides were spilling out when she was taken to hospital and died in a Singapore hospital after battling for her life for a fortnight. � PTI