Family members of Akshay Thakur, one of the four declared guilty in the December 16 gang rape and murder case, burst into tears after learning about the court's verdict and hoped God would be kind when punishment would be pronounced on Wednesday.
When mediapersons, who had gathered at the thatched home of Thakurs at Lahankarma in Aurangabad district, told them that the court has declared all the four guilty, they erupted into cries.
Thakur's father Saryu Singh, a marginal farmer, mother Malti Devi, wife Punita Devi holding her two-year-old son and brothers Abhay and Vinay shut also themselves inside home. Amid howls, mother Malti Devi was heard saying, "God please return me my son. He cannot do such a thing. Please let him live."
When mediapersons tried to talk to Vinay, he said, "Please leave us alone, we are not in position to talk."
A little earlier to the court's verdict, the convict's father Saryu Singh told PTI "I have full faith in judiciary and trust in God." However, he said it's painful for him to live with the shame his son has inflicted on the family and the village.
Wife Punita Devi, who observed ‘Teej’ festival for the well-being of her husband, said "I am sure my husband cannot do such a heinous act."
The two brothers, who work in a private company in Gurgaon, have come home to be with their parents at the time of judgment on Akshay who was arrested from his home in the village in connection with the case.
The parents never went to Delhi to meet Akshay who is lodged in Tihar jail. His two brothers had met him there.
Along with family, other villagers too were saddened. Akshay's childhood friend and neighbour Santosh Mishra said, "He was a simple man when he was in the village. The environment of a big town like Delhi seems to have carried him away and turned him to a beast".
Sarpanch of Lahankarma village Arvind Paswan said the name of the entire village has been sullied because of Akshay. On the night of December 16, last year, Ram Singh, Vinay, Akshay, Pawan, Mukesh and the juvenile had gang raped the girl in a bus after luring her and her 28-year-old male friend, who was also assaulted, on board the vehicle, which was later found to be plying illegally on Delhi roads.
The victim's friend, a software engineer, had fractured his limbs in the incident. The girl succumbed to injuries on December 29, 2012 at a Singapore hospital.
Image: A man peeks into the police vehicle carrying four men, who were found guilty of the Delhi gang rape
Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters