Convicted in the December 16, 2012 Delhi gang rape, the lone juvenile offender in the crime is set to walk free on December 20 after the Delhi high court ruled that his three-year stay at a detention centre could not be extended after its completion.
However, his release has not gone down well with civil society groups and individuals, who have demanded that his stay at the juvenile home be extended. From the victim’s mother, who lamented that “crime had won”, to extreme reactions voiced online, public opinion was — almost entirely — against the juvenile being discharged. This was reflected in an online survey conducted by Hindustan Times, with a majority of respondents — a whopping 84% — feeling that the demand to extend the juvenile’s jail time was justified.
As of Saturday evening, 1,195 people participated in the survey, with only 13% believing that the juvenile had served his time. Another question in the survey — whether the age for criminals to be tried as juveniles be reduced in case of heinous crimes — saw 90% of the respondents say ‘yes’, while 84% believed that the convict would not walk out a reformed man.
The question on whether the offender should be placed under police watch after being released was also met by a clear majority opinion, with 92% saying ‘yes’.
Even social media — where every issue is usually well debated — seemed unanimous on the verdict. On Twitter, reactions ranged from resignation to the fact that, “after all, that is the law of the land” to disappointment and sympathy for the parents of the victim. Very few argued that changing the law was merely ‘lynch mob mentality’.
Jyoti's parents need to hear the last word from the Supreme Court. Law need not be an ASS or Dumb or Blind..it can be dynamic and innovative— Kiran Bedi (@thekiranbedi) December 18, 2015
Sadly, the Delhi High Court is correct in allowing the juvenile rapist to walk free today. That is after all the law of the land.— Anas Wajid (@anaswajid) December 19, 2015
No point in debating when everyone agrees that he shouldn't be out. But you just can't keep him in jail because of law #NirbhayaRapistOut— Ra_Bies (@Ra_Bies) December 18, 2015
By what stretch of imagination is it safe to assume that a brutal criminal can be reformed & rehabilitated into society? #NirbhayaRapistOut— Shuchi Singh Kalra (@shuchikalra) December 19, 2015
In a reform home if a juvenile rapist gets radicalised what can you expect when he's freed? Have the courts thought about Jyoti's parents?— Just Rosie (@yumjaoleima) December 19, 2015
The juvenile in Delhi case did not commit crime on own-there were adults who instigated it. Change lawst to hang kids is lynch mob mentality— Anurag Shrivastava (@hrnext) December 19, 2015