She lit a flame: December 16 Delhi gang rape and its impact on lives, laws | delhi | Hindustan Times
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She lit a flame: December 16 Delhi gang rape and its impact on lives, laws

On December 16, 2012, Delhi was forced to start a long-overdue conversation about women’s safety. Over the years, however, rape figures continue to soar and new incidents keep getting reported. The discussion seems to have stopped.

delhi Updated: Dec 16, 2016 15:27 IST
Dec 16 gangrape
People protest in Delhi after the December 16, 2012 gangrape which reignited the debate over juvenile crimes.(Mohd Zakir/HT File Photo)

On December 16, 2012, Delhi was forced to start a long-overdue conversation about women’s safety. Over the years, however, rape figures continue to soar and new incidents keep getting reported. The discussion seems to have stopped.

Four years later, as we urge to Delhi to talk about rape, it’s important to recall what happened that fateful night when a 23-year-old braveheart was brutally assaulted on a moving bus in Munirka in south Delhi and left to die on the side of the road.

With December 16 hogging the headlines, people marched on to the streets, forcing the administration to act swiftly and punish the culprits. The lives of several people involved in the incident changed forever.

FACES OF THE DECEMBER 16 INCIDENT
The victim, perpetrators and witnesses who marked the investigation of the gang rape
THE CONVICTS
  • AKSHAY THAKUR (32), from Bihar, is a school dropout.
  • Role: Raped the 23-year-old.
  • Where is he now: He is lodged in jail number 2 and is under tight security after he reported that his life was in danger. He stays aloof.
  • PAWAN GUPTA (23), a fruit-seller.
  • Role: Gupta took turns to rape the woman and assaulted her friend.
  • Where is he now: Pawan is lodged in jail number 2 with three others, and is preparing for his graduation exams.
  • MUKESH SINGH (31), was the cleaner of the bus.
  • Role: Mukesh hit the duo with an iron rod.
  • Where is he now: He is lodged in Tihar. During one of his interviews, Singh said that the woman deserved to be raped.
  • VINAY SHARMA (25), was a fitness trainer.
  • Role: He drove the bus when the five assaulted the woman. He gave the wheel to Mukesh and raped her.
  • Where is he now: He is in Tihar and is preparing for his university exam.
  • RAM SINGH (32) was the driver of the bus.
  • Role: Singh thrashed the girl and violated her with iron rods.
  • Where is he now: He committed suicide on March 10, 2013 inside Tihar.
THE OTHERS
  • INSPECTOR PRATIBHA from Delhi Police
  • Role: Pratibha was the investigating officer in the case. In 2012, she was a sub-inspector at the Vasant Vihar police station.
  • Where is she now: Posted at the Defence Colony police station.


  • YOGESH KHANNA, magistrate who pronounced the five guilty
  • Role: Additional sessions judge in Saket Court Yogesh Khanna handed down death sentence to all the four convicts in the case.
  • Where is he now: He was promoted as a judge in the Delhi HC in November.


  • VICTIM’S FRIEND: He was the only eyewitness in the case
  • Role: Was beaten and thrown out of the bus near Mahipalpur.
  • Where is he now: He is working as an engineer with a multi-national company in Banglore. He is scheduled to marry in January.


  • DR SUNIL JAIN Head of a surgical unit at Safdarjung Hospital in 2012
  • Role: Was part of the team that operated on the victim
  • Where is he now: Heads the department of surgery at Safdarjung.


  • NOW A 22-YEAR-OLD MAN, the juvenile was among the six accused and was tried by the JJ Board.
  • Role: He raped the girl and also thrashed her friend
  • Where is he now: He was released after he completed his term in December last year.

The incident also forced India to change its rape laws and opt for more stringent measures through the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013.