Known to India and the world as 'Nirbhaya' (Fearless), the 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, whose brutal gang rape on a moving bus in Delhi in December inspired widespread protests, has been posthumously presented with the International Women of Courage Award.
"Her bravery inspired millions of women and men to come together with a simple message: No more. No more looking the other way when gender-based violence happens. No more stigma against victims or survivors," the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said at a State Department function held on Friday to honour women from across the globe with the prestigious International Women of Courage Award.
The award was presented to the brave young girl posthumously. None of her family members were present on the occasion. The Indian Ambassador to the US, Nirupama Rao was present at the award ceremony in which eight others were presented with the award.
In a rare gesture, Kerry asked the jam packed auditorium to stand and join him in a moment of silence for 'Nirbhaya', whom he described as "brave, big heart and fearless".
"Nirbhaya's fight survives her. For inspiring people to work together to end violence against women in India and around the world by displaying immense courage in demanding justice, and with great sadness, we honour Nirbhaya as a woman of exceptional courage, and we honour her posthumously," the Secretary of State said at the function presided over by the US First Lady, Michelle Obama.