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2012 Delhi gangrape: Supreme Court upholds death sentence for all four convicts

The bench said their crime was ‘barbaric’ and that it had taken into condition the seriousness of Singh’s injuries.

The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the death sentence for all four convicts in connection with the 2012 Delhi gangrape case. Six men had raped and brutally assaulted a 23-year-old student in Delhi in December 2012. “It is a victory for my family, I am very happy with the judgment,” her father said.

The bench in its verdict said it was taking into consideration the serious injuries and the severe nature of the offence committed by the convicts, ANI reported. “It is a barbaric incident,” the Supreme Court said. Justice Bhanumati, one of the judges on the bench that passed the order, said a system should be set in place to educate children on how to respect women.

Akshay, Vinay Sharma, Pawan and Mukesh had moved the apex court challenging the death sentence the Delhi High Court had given them. On March 27, 2017, the top court had reserved its judgment on their appeal.

“The court must sentence them to death,” Singh’s mother had told Hindustan Times before the judgment. “We won’t settle for life imprisonment. I am alive and kept myself strong only to see this day.”

Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi said she was happy with the Supreme Court verdict. “Though I wish it had come sooner,” she told ANI. AP Singh, who represented the convicts in the court, dismissed the verdict. “No one should be sentenced to death just to send out a message to the society. Human rights have been annihilated,” he said.

The convicts’ hearing in the Supreme Court had begun on April 4, 2016, almost two years after a stay order was issued against their execution. Two of the convicts had sought a change in their defence counsel as they alleged that the lawyers had spoken against them to the media. They had requested Justice TS Thakur, who was the chief justice of India at that point, and Justice Deepak Misra to intervene in their favour.

A trial court had ordered death sentences for the convicts in September 2013, which was upheld by the Delhi High Court six months later. However, the Supreme Court had issued a stay order on the sentence after the convicts appealed against it.

Six individuals, including a juvenile, had brutally raped the 23-year-old woman in a moving bus in Delhi on December 16, 2012. The victim had succumbed to her injuries on December 29 the same year at a hospital in Singapore. The minor accused was released in December 2015 after serving three years in a detention home for juveniles, while one convict died in prison.

The incident had triggered country-wide protests and demands to ensure better safety for women in India. The outrage had forced the government to introduce new laws on rape.

The chronology of events:

December 16, 2012: Six men rape Jyoti Singh and assault her friend on a bus in New Delhi.

December 18-22: The accused are identified and arrested, one of them is identified as a minor.

December 29: Singh dies in a hospital in Singapore while thousands protest around the country.

March 11: One of the accused, Ram Singh, commits suicide in jail.

August 31, 2013: The minor accused is convicted by the Juvenile Justice Board and sentenced to three years in a remand home.

September 10, 2013: The four adult accused are found guilty of rape and murder, among other charges, and are sentenced to death by a trial court.

March 13, 2014: The Delhi High Court upholds the death sentences.

May 5, 2017: The Supreme Court upholds the death sentences.

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“My body instantly craves chai and samosa”

German expats talk about adapting to India, and the surprising similarities between the two cultures.

The cultural similarities between Germany and India are well known, especially with regards to the language. Linguists believe that Sanskrit and German share the same Indo-Germanic heritage of languages. A quick comparison indeed holds up theory - ratha in Sanskrit (chariot) is rad in German, aksha (axle) in Sanskrit is achse in German and so on. Germans have long held a fascination for Indology and Sanskrit. While Max Müller is still admired for his translation of ancient Indian scriptures, other German intellectuals such as Goethe, Herder and Schlegel were deeply influenced by Kalidasa. His poetry is said to have informed Goethe’s plays, and inspired Schlegel to eventually introduce formal Indology in Germany. Beyond the arts and academia, Indian influences even found their way into German fast food! Indians would recognise the famous German curry powder as a modification of the Indian masala mix. It’s most popular application is the currywurst - fried sausage covered in curried ketchup.

It is no wonder then that German travellers in India find a quite a lot in common between the two cultures, even today. Some, especially those who’ve settled here, even confess to Indian culture growing on them with time. Isabelle, like most travellers, first came to India to explore the country’s rich heritage. She returned the following year as an exchange student, and a couple of years later found herself working for an Indian consultancy firm. When asked what prompted her to stay on, Isabelle said, “I love the market dynamics here, working here is so much fun. Anywhere else would seem boring compared to India.” Having cofounded a company, she eventually realised her entrepreneurial dream here and now resides in Goa with her husband.

Isabelle says there are several aspects of life in India that remind her of home. “How we interact with our everyday life is similar in both Germany and India. Separate house slippers to wear at home, the celebration of food and festivals, the importance of friendship…” She feels Germany and India share the same spirit especially in terms of festivities. “We love food and we love celebrating food. There is an entire countdown to Christmas. Every day there is some dinner or get-together,” much like how Indians excitedly countdown to Navratri or Diwali. Franziska, who was born in India to German parents, adds that both the countries exhibit the same kind of passion for their favourite sport. “In India, they support cricket like anything while in Germany it would be football.”

Having lived in India for almost a decade, Isabelle has also noticed some broad similarities in the way children are brought up in the two countries. “We have a saying in South Germany ‘Schaffe Schaffe Hausle baue’ that loosely translates to ‘work, work, work and build a house’. I found that parents here have a similar outlook…to teach their children to work hard. They feel that they’ve fulfilled their duty only once the children have moved out or gotten married. Also, my mother never let me leave the house without a big breakfast. It’s the same here.” The importance given to the care of the family is one similarity that came up again and again in conversations with all German expats.

While most people wouldn’t draw parallels between German and Indian discipline (or lack thereof), Germans married to Indians have found a way to bridge the gap. Take for example, Ilka, who thinks that the famed differences of discipline between the two cultures actually works to her marital advantage. She sees the difference as Germans being highly planning-oriented; while Indians are more flexible in their approach. Ilka and her husband balance each other out in several ways. She says, like most Germans, she too tends to get stressed when her plans don’t work out, but her husband calms her down.

Consequently, Ilka feels India is “so full of life. The social life here is more happening; people smile at you, bond over food and are much more relaxed.” Isabelle, too, can attest to Indians’ friendliness. When asked about an Indian characteristic that makes her feel most at home, she quickly answers “humour.” “Whether it’s a taxi driver or someone I’m meeting professionally, I’ve learnt that it’s easy to lighten the mood here by just cracking a few jokes. Indians love to laugh,” she adds.

Indeed, these Germans-who-never-left as just diehard Indophiles are more Indian than you’d guess at first, having even developed some classic Indian skills with time. Ilka assures us that her husband can’t bargain as well as she does, and that she can even drape a saree on her own.

Isabelle, meanwhile, feels some amount of Indianness has seeped into her because “whenever its raining, my body instantly craves chai and samosa”.

Like the long-settled German expats in India, the German airline, Lufthansa, too has incorporated some quintessential aspects of Indian culture in its service. Recognising the centuries-old cultural affinity between the two countries, Lufthansa now provides a rich experience of Indian hospitality to all flyers on board its flights to and from India. You can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalized by Lufthansa to the extent that they are More Indian Than You Think. To experience Lufthansa’s hospitality on your next trip abroad, click here.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.