Asha Devi, Nirbhaya's mother
This project is a tribute to the sheroes who got Nirbhaya justice. Asha Devi, mother of Nirbhaya, is a true shero. She is the real superheroine of Nirbhaya’s story. She has been greatly supported by activist lawyer, Seema Kushwara, another shero, and Yogita Bhayana, founder of People Against Rapes in India (PARI), another shero. IPS Officer, Chaya Sharma, is another Shero, who hunted down Nirbhaya's rapists.
"Nirbhaya's suffering became my strength."
Asha Devi with husband, Badrinath Pandey, and lawyer Seema Kushwara.
Asha Devi speaking up for her daughter
Asha Devi crying in court for her daugher
Asha Devi, a Shero
After the four rapists were hung, Asha Devis stated in an interview, "The justice is complete today with the execution. Not only Nirbhaya got justice, but every girl in this country has got justice. Our seven-year struggle is now over," she said. "Wherever I went, people used to ask me where do you get the motivation to fight? I raised my voice against this crime. Nirbhaya's pain gave me strength to fight this battle. Nirbhaya's suffering became my strength," she said, (India Today 2020).
Drawing of Asha Devi, Nirbhaya’s Mother at a vigil.
Asha Devi, the new face of Mother India
Drawing of Asha Devi, Nirbhaya’s Mother grieving.
The grieving but stoic and brave figure of Nirbhaya's mother, Asha Devi, has come to embody the new Mother India. Women flocked to her, to support her, to tell her their own stories of sexual violence, to stand with her. Nirbhaya was called India’s daughter, and she herself said that while she lost her own daughter, she gained thousands of daughters in her fight for justice.
Drawing of Asha Devi, Nirbhaya’s Mother at a protest march.
"Justice has been delivered to my daughter. But it does not mean that I will sit in silence. I will continue to fight for justice to all rape victims. Like this I will pay tribute to my daughter. Everyone together needs to raise their voice against rape,” said Asha Devi, (Mumbai Mirror 2020).
IPS Officer, Chaya Sharma, another Shero
IPS Officer, Chaya Sharma, found and arrested the six rapists within days of the attack.
Chaya Sharma giving an interview.
Chaya Sharma was the Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) in Delhi in 2012 when she handled the investigation in the brutal Nirbhaya gang rape case. She, along with six others, was chosen for the 2019 Asia Society Game Changers award for redefining the role of female police officers.
Chaya Sharma said that when she met with Nirbhaya and her parents, Nirbhaya told appealed to her to not let the six rapists get away. Nirbhaya’s words stayed with Chaya Sharma and made her even more determined to nab the rapists.
Lawyer Seema Kushwara, another Shero
Asha Devi’s lawyer Seema Kushwaha with Asha Devi, the day after the rapists were hung.
Asha Devi’s lawyer Seema Kushwara speaking to the press about the Nirbhaya court case.
Seema Kushwara is the determined activist lawyer who worked pro bono to fight with Asha Devi to get justice for Nirbhaya. Speaking to the media, she said, “The way they had convicted the heinous crime, even animals don’t do such crimes. Since that day, I had decided that I will bring justice to her. I am satisfied that I accomplished what I had decided.” (NE Now 2020)
Anti-rape activist Yogita Bhayana, another Shero
Yogita Bhayana, a close associate of Nirbhaya's family heads PARI, People Against Rape in India, has supported Nirbhaya’s parents all through their battle for justice.
After the rapists were finally executed, she said, “Now we must address the real audience, i.e. men, who are either son or brother of every woman. If the mindsets of men will be changed then it will help in controlling such incidents," she said. (DNA India 2020)
Yogita Bhayana with Asha Devi
Yogita Bhayana protesting with with Asha Devi outside Patiala House courts.
2020. DNA India. February 12. https://www.dnaindia.com/delhi/report-delhi-nirbhaya-s-mother-protests-outside-patiala-house-says-court-in-no-mood-to-issue-death-warrant-2813425.
2020. India Today. March 21. https://www.indiatoday.in/mail-today/story/my-pain-turned-into-my-strength-nirbhaya-s-mother-asha-devi-1658035-2020-03-21.
2020. Mumbai Mirror. December 16. https://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/news/india/remembering-nirbhaya-mother-asha-devi-pledges-to-fight-for-providing-justice-to-all-rape-victims/articleshow/79751459.cms.
2020. NE Now. March 21. https://nenow.in/popular-stories/justice-delayed-but-not-denied-says-nirbhayas-mother.html.