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Role of Forensic Odontology In the Nirbhaya Rape Case

Nirbhaya Case

Nirbhaya(Jyoti Singh) was gang raped on December 16th, 2012 in Munirka, South Delhi while returning from a movie theatre with her male friend (Awindra Pratap Pandey). Nirbhaya was not only molested but her whole body was mutilated with a rusted iron rod inside her private part causing injuries in her intestines, abdomen, and genitals by six perpetrators on a moving private bus and her friend was also beaten badly as he tried to save her. She was taken to the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi for medical assistance and then was later shifted to Singapore after eleven days of the incident where she passed away two days after she was admitted. Nirbhaya was found with several injuries, including bite marks all over the body. The intestines were pulled out of her body, and penetration was done using metal rods, causing severe damage to her genitals. Jyoti tried to fight those rapists by biting three of them and leaving them with bite marks.

Nirbhaya Convicts

The Forensic Odontology Department of the SDM Dental College played an important role. The police sent the forensic expert (dental forensics), DR. Ashit B Acharya, the dental modules of the five accused people except for the juvenile, along with the photographs of the bite marks found on the body of the victim. The photographs were then compared with the dental modules, and the analysis went on for 5 days. Through a thorough investigation from January 3rd to January 7th, 2013, it was concluded in a 12-page detailed forensic report that out of the five, two bites matched with two perpetrators. Based on the report the forensic expert was then called into court to testify and was cross-examined by the defense lawyer. The process went on for around 1.5 hours, after which the report which was submitted was accepted as evidence against the rapists. The six convicted people, namely Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta, Akshay Thakur, Ram Singh, and Mohammed Afroz (a juvenile) were arrested. Ram Singh committed suicide on March 11th, 2013 while being on trial, and Mohammad Afroz was sent to the Juvenile Centre, where he was imprisoned for 3 years under Juvenile Justice Law. Other convicts were executed on 20th March 2020, after around 7.3 years of this heinous crime. Forensic Odontology played a crucial role in cases like the Nirbhaya Rape case and the Sheena Bora murder case. Odontology is as unique as a fingerprint found in humans, which helps in the identification of a person. The bite marks are unique to a person, as every human has a different structure of tooth formation, and even the pulp (tooth) tissues help in the DNA Profiling of an individual.

Himika Ghosh

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