With just five days left for the execution of death sentence in the sensational 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case, the Tihar Jail authorities on Sunday said they have asked the hangman to report three days ahead of the scheduled hanging. The four convicts in the case are to be hanged together at 5.30 am on March 20, according to an order by a Delhi court earlier this month.
The death row convicts are Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31). The execution of their death warrants has been deferred thrice so far due to delays by them in exhausting legal remedies. After the fresh death warrant was issued, the Tihar Jail authorities wrote to their counterparts in Uttar Pradesh requesting for the service of hangman Pawan Jallad, a senior jail official said. "Pawan Jallad, a hangman from Meerut, has been asked to report at Tihar Jail on March 17, three days ahead of the scheduled date of hanging," said Sandeep Goel, DG (Prisons). According to the jail authorities, dummy executions will be conducted again after the arrival of Jallad.
The Health check-up of the convicts is being done once in a day. They are also being counseled on a regular basis, they said. Out of the four convicts, Mukesh, Pawan and Vinay have had their last face-to-face meetings with their respective families. The authorities have written to the family of Akshay about the date for the final meeting before the scheduled date of execution. The jail authorities have also not stopped the convicts' weekly meetings with their families yet. Delhi's Tihar Prison authorities had made all necessary preparations for the hanging of four convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case which was scheduled for March 3, officials said. However, a day before, a city court deferred the hanging till further orders.
The hangman, who was called from Meerut, was scheduled to leave the national capital on March 3, they said. Barring Pawan, the other three had in the previous weeks moved curative petitions and mercy pleas which were all dismissed. The first date of execution - January 22 fixed on January 7 was postponed by the court to February 1. But on January 31, the court indefinitely postponed the hanging. On February 17, the court again issued a fresh date for the execution of death warrants for March 3 at 6 am. The court in its orders observed that the four convicts cannot be hanged since a mercy plea of one or the other convict was pending.
A 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, who came to be known as 'Nirbhaya' (fearless), was gang-raped and savagely assaulted in a moving bus in South Delhi on December 16, 2012. She died after a fortnight. Six people, including the four convicts and a juvenile, were named as accused. Ram Singh, the sixth accused, allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail days after the trial began in the case. The juvenile was released in 2015 after spending three years in a correctional.
(with PTI inputs)