They fought for the December 16 rape victim for days on end and stood strong when the police tried to chase them away from various parts of the city.
The court's decision to grant death sentence top the four convicts, however, elicited varied reactions from those involved in the
protests, with a number of organized groups displaying displeasure at the decision.
"We had asked for a change in the system and the mindset. Hanging all these men is not going to change the situation at the ground level.
There are a number of similar cases. Will the court hang all the convicts? What about the rape in Jind? Was that any less brutal? The government needs to implement the suggestions in the Justice Varma Committee report.
What has happened is not reform. It is just a knee jerk reaction that will not change anything on the ground," said Lenin, president, JNU students' union which spearheaded the protests against the rape.
Others in JNU agree.
"We had demanded 100% justice. Hanging them is an easy way out. Ensuring safety is a lot tougher. The structures are still the same. There is no change in culture and attitudes. This is not the solution," said Sucheta De, another student leader at JNU.
Kavita Krishnan, one of the most prominent faces of the protests has maintained that death penalty is not the solution and that the court needs to take all cases of rape seriously.
"We need to think out the double standards that the system and we have when it comes to rape cases across the country," she said.
A number of groups, including 16 December Kranti and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarathi Parishad, however, have welcomed the decision.
"We have been fighting for this for a very long time and justice has finally been delivered. It sends out a strong message to all those who harass women. Our movement was not just for one victim but for all rape victins. All rapists must be hanged," said a member of 16 December Kranti.
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