December 16 Nirbhaya gang-rape convict attempts suicide in Tihar Jail

Nirbhaya protests (file photo)
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New Delhi–Vinay Sharma, one of the four convicts in the December 16, 2012, gang-rape tried to commit suicide by hanging himself with a ‘gamcha’ from the ventilator of his cell in Tihar Jail on Wednesday night but was prevented from doing so by Tamil Nadu policemen. He was hospitalised and is now back in jail, said police.

Sharma used the gamcha, a long thin cotton towel, to tie a noose around his neck to hang himself inside his cell in the high security ward of Jail No. 8 on Wednesday around 9.30 p.m. However, he was spotted by the Tamil Nadu police, who have been tasked to provide security in the inner corridor of the prison, where his cell is located.

Sharma, a former gym instructor, was admitted to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital at night. He was discharged on Thursday evening after treatment for the bruises around his neck.

Nirbhaya protests (file photo)
Nirbhaya protests (file photo)

Deputy Commissioner of Police Pushpendra Kumar told IANS that “He had minor bruises around his neck, but he was all right. There were no other injury marks on his body.”

Kumar also discounted reports that Sharma had consumed any anti-depressant pills.

Sources in Tihar Jail told IANS that Sharma in order to convert his death sentence to life imprisonment, had planned the suicide. The source said that Sharma started shouting on Wednesday night that he wanted to kill himself and had consumed some pills. He later tried to hang himself.

His co-prisoners raised the alarm, and the Tamil Police arrived on the scene.

Reacting to Sharma’s suicide attempt, the father of the 23-year-old rape victim on Thursday said they wanted to see “all the convicts dead so that they could heave a sigh of relief”.

“It is good. It is a big thing that he is still alive, he should die very soon. He has to die in future, if he dies today, it would be a tribute to our daughter,” said the father of the young woman, venting his anger. His daughter, a paramedical student, died on December 29, 2012, of the grave intestinal injuries inflicted on her during the gruesome rape here. She was airlifted to Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital, where she died.

Tihar Jail Superintendent Bijendra Kumar told IANS that “Tamil Nadu Policemen prevented Vinay from committing suicide after they saw him trying to hang himself in his cell.”

Asked if Sharma was being harassed inside the jail which led him to take such a step, Kumar said: “We did not get any such complaint from his side.”

Sharma’s lawyer A.P. Singh gave a different version, claiming that it was an attempt to murder his client. “Few days ago, I met him in jail where he complained about torture inside the jail premises,” Singh told IANS.

Sharma had in 2013 demanded extra security in jail, claiming that he was being beaten up by other inmates and police officials.

Sharma, along with Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta, Akshay Thakur and Ram Singh, and a juvenile, was accused of gang-raping and brutally assaulting the woman inside a moving private bus. The victim and her male friend were thrown out of the bus after the crime.

Sharma, who is the only educated member among the convicts, had along with three other convicts, approached the Supreme Court against the Delhi High Court’s 2014 verdict that handed them death penalty, describing their offence as “rarest of rare”.

Sharma is the second among the gang-rape accused who tried to commit suicide.

In 2013, Ram Singh, the prime accused in the case and the driver of the bus in which the gang-rape took place, was found dead in Tihar Jail. Investigators said that Singh had committed suicide by hanging himself in his cell, while his family and defence lawyer claimed he was murdered.

The juvenile was released in December 2015 after completion of his three-year term in a juvenile observation home.

The news of Sharma’s suicide attempt has thrown spotlight on the case again and acted as a cruel reminder to the victim’s parents of the incident that shook the entire nation.

In a telephonic conversation with IANS, the victim’s father, in his late 50s, said that “It is good for such people to die as they are dangerous for society and the country.”

“If he was committing suicide, he should do it. Not only he, I want to see all the convicts dead so that we can heave a sigh of relief,” the father added.

Similar sentiments were expressed by the victim’s mother when she spoke to IANS.

“The sin of these people (the convicts) will not allow them to live. My daughter survived without water for 13 days. She faced extreme pain and brutality,” the mother told IANS.



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