US award for Nirbhaya on Women's Day
Washington, Mar 5 : India's Braveheart, the Delhi girl who was fatally gang-raped on a moving bus last December triggering a nationwide protest for women's safety in the country, has been chosen by the US Department of State for an award to be conferred on Mar 8, the International Women's Day.
An official communique said on Friday, March 8, Secretary John Kerry will honor 10 extraordinary women with the Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Award.
First Lady Michelle Obama will join Secretary Kerry and the awardees as a special guest at the 3 p.m. ceremony in the Dean Acheson Auditorium of the U.S. Department of State.
Among the ten women is Nirbhaya, who tragically did not survive the brutal attack on the bus as she succumbed nearly a fortnight later in a Singapore hospital where she was taken for treatment.
The US State Department said: "Known to India and the world as "Nirbhaya" (Fearless), the courageous 23-year-old physiotherapy intern whose brutal gang rape on a moving bus in Delhi in December inspired widespread protests, has become the foundation of a popular movement to end violence against women in India."
"For millions of Indian women, her personal ordeal, perseverance to fight for justice, and her family's continued bravery is helping to lift the stigma and vulnerability that drive violence against women."
"Nirbhaya bravely recorded two police statements while in the hospital, repeatedly called for justice against the six attackers, and stated her will to survive to see justice done. Like many Indians inspired by her struggle, she was born into a working class family that invested their hopes and life savings into her dream to pursue medicine.
"She had just graduated from a physiotherapy program when her life was cut short. In the wake of her death just two weeks after the attack, India's active civil society began advocating heavily for legislation and social programs to stem gender-based violence in all its forms and to ensure higher rape conviction rates and gender-sensitive law enforcement and justice systems. Thanks to these efforts, the Indian government has begun to take action to follow through on those demands," the communique read.