IPS officer, who cracked Nirbhaya gang-rape case, gets leadership award
On 17 December 2012, India woke up to a horrific crime, one which hung humanity's head in shame. A 23-year-old physiotherapy student was brutally gang-raped on a moving bus in Delhi. As India fumed, took to streets to raise voices, IPS officer Chhaya Sharma, worked relentlessly to nab the accused. And on Friday, Chhaya was bestowed with a leadership and courage honor.
Backstory: Nirbhaya's abuse left the entire nation aghast
On December 16, Nirbhaya (as the victim Jyoti Singh became known), was returning after watching a movie with her friend. The duo boarded a private bus but didn't know the ride would turn this horrific. The men on the bus thrashed Nirbhaya's friend and raped her. After violating her, the men inserted iron rods inside her private parts. Nirbhaya passed away on December 29.
Under Chhaya's leadership, accused were arrested in 5 days
It was Chhaya's swift action which helped in arresting all six accused in five days. As the DCP South, she spent a great deal of time giving directions, assimilating information and working on succinct inputs. This is precisely why the 2019 McCain Institute Award for Courage and Leadership was given to Chhaya. The institute heaped praises on Chhaya, who is a 1999-batch IPS officer.
Institute praised Chhaya for her victim-centric approach
The statement said that Chhaya has led investigations in several sensitive criminal cases in her career spanning over 19 years. "Chhaya's policing has consistently reflected victim-centric approach through her numerous investigations of serious crimes, particularly against women and children," the statement added. The statement made a special mention of Nirbhaya case and Chhaya's exemplary work which solved the case soon.
Chhaya stood as shield between her team and media: Statement
"During the six grueling days of the manhunt across five Indian States, Chhaya stood as a shield for her team of officers and men, insulating them from mounting media and civil society pressures, which led to the quick apprehension of the perpetrators of that ghastly crime," the statement added.
Notably, Malala has also received the honor
McCain Institute also highlighted that Chhaya filed a charge sheet in record 18 days, which withstood several stages of judicial scrutiny. "Chhaya kept the focus on meticulous documentation and collection of scientific evidence," the statement went on. With this award, Chhaya has joined a selected club. In 2015, this honor was bestowed upon Malala Yousafzai. Dikembe Mutombo received the award in 2016.
On a related note, Netflix made a series on Chhaya
Notably, streaming giant Netflix took on the mammoth task to reveal how Chhaya cracked the case. The show Delhi Crime, which stars Shefali Shah in the role of Chhaya, focuses on the intricacies of the investigation. Apart from capturing India's mood during the horrible tragedy, the show also sheds limelight on what was going on in the mind of the officers probing the case.