Cheers and tears after rape convicts get death verdict

New Delhi, Sep 13 (IANS) People hugged and congratulated one another outside the court-room here after the four men convicted of gang-rape and murder of a young woman in December 2012 were handed down death sentence.

Of the remaining two accused, one died during trial while the other, a juvenile, was sent to remand home for three years Aug 31.

The Saket court complex was buzzing with activity since noon as hundreds of mediapersons, lawyers, police personnel and hangers-on arrived.

The road outside the main gate No. 3 was barricaded and closed for vehicular movement since morning and only media vehicles were allowed to enter as the police, anticipating huge crowds, desperately wanted to prevent traffic snarls.

Similar were the scenes inside the complex.

Police used ropes and benches to restrict entry to the courtroom as a massive crowd gathered in the corridors and galleries of the court complex, resulting in chaos.

Only a handful of journalists were let in as people waited outside with bated breath for the verdict.

Minutes later, the courtroom's gate opened and news of death sentence spread like wild fire.

Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna sentenced the four accused - Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur - to death almost nine months after the barbaric crime that outraged the nation and hogged international spotlight.

Emotions ran high as the crowd cheered, applauded and strangers shook hands and hugged one another.

"Badhai ho, bahut achcha hua (congratulations, it's a very good judgment)," was the reaction of a private security guard on the third floor as he shook hands with yours truly.

There was absolutely no sympathy for the convicts and everyone seemed to echo the same view - "they deserved it".

As people celebrated, the family of the unfortunate victim, including her mother, father and two brothers and a cousin, were escorted out by a dozen police personnel.

The mother, her eyes welled up, said: "I am satisfied now, and we are finally at peace. They have been given the punishment which they truly deserved."

No one from the families of the four convicted men turned up at the court.

The news left the four men -- pronounced convicted on Tuesday -- stunned, especially Vinay Sharma who broke down and almost collapsed before being pulled up to his feet by police personnel standing around him.

He wept profusely and appealed hysterically to the judge: "Sir ji... sir ji maaf kar do." The judge left the room.

The other three men appeared to be lost in a trance as if trying to come to terms with the reality. Their faces showed no expression.

Policemen swiftly whisked away the four.

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