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Nirbhaya: Execution nears, but Tihar has no hangman

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The Economic Times
03rd December, 2019 14:30 IST

NEW DELHI: With options running out

for the Nirbhaya convicts

, their execution seems imminent. However, Tihar officials are a worried lot as the jail doesn't have a hangman.

A source told TOI that senior jail officials are weighing their options as the execution may be conducted in one month. The convicts could be hanged any day after the court issues a "Black Warrant" sanctioning their execution. The warrant would be issued after rejection of their mercy petition by the President.

During the last hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, the Tihar administration was caught off-guard as the developments unfolded overnight. At that time, a jail official had agreed to pull the lever, the source said. "To avert the crisis, Tihar officials have unofficially started to contact other jails to inquire if they have a hangman. They are also inquiring in a few villages in Uttar Pradesh where the last hangman was from," the source added.

In most likelihood, Tihar will not appoint a hangman even this time and hire someone on a one-time contract. "Executions don't happen often in our system as the death penalty is given in rarest of rare cases. So, having a full-time hangman is not viable. Also, it's difficult to find a full-time employee for this job description," a jail official explained.

This time, only one of the convicts, Vinay Sharma, filed the mercy petition. The Tihar administration forwarded it to Delhi government, which sent it to the lieutenant governor recommending that the petition be rejected given the severity of the crime. “The LG will send the file to Union ministry of home affairs, which will present it before the President. The President’s decision will be conveyed to Tihar Jail, which will move court requesting a Black Warrant if the petition is rejected,” a government official said. After the Black Warrant is issued, jail officials will inform the convicts and their families about their execution.

The other convicts — Mukesh, Pawan and Akshay — didn’t file the mercy petition despite the Tihar administration giving them a week’s time. “The court will now take a call on whether the trio should be given more time,” the official added.

Sharma, Mukesh, Pawan, Akshay, Ram Singh and a juvenile had gang-raped and murdered a medical student inside a moving bus in south Delhi’s Vasant Vihar in December 2012. Supreme Court had upheld their death penalty last year.

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