Being a hangman may not be the best of jobs but one such man in Indian is excited for a call to Delhi in the coming days to execute four men who gang raped and murdered a female student on a moving bus a eight years ago.
Pawan Jallad, a fourth generation executioner, says he is ready to carry out the sentence of the four saying their death will bring ‘a sigh of relief to me, her parents and the country’
Akshay Kumar Singh, 31, Pawan Gupta, 25, Vinay Sharma, 26, and Mukesh Singh, 32, were sentenced to hanging on January 22 at 7am in Tihar jail, a court has ruled.
They were convicted of raping and killing physiotherapy student Jyoti Singh, 23, on a Delhi bus in 2012, while she travelled home from a nightshift at an IBM call centre.
Appeals by all four men against the death sentence have been rejected by India’s Supreme Court, with the final verdict coming in December.
The men still have one more chance to appeal against the ‘black warrant’ death notice, although any mercy plea is expected to be rejected.
The hangman has said he is expecting to be ordered to travel to Tihar from his home in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, to carry out ‘rehearsals’ for the executions of the men.
‘It will really give a great sigh of relief to me, to Nirbhaya’s parents and to everyone else in the country when these convicts are hanged. These kinds of people should be hanged,’ he told Gulf News.
‘I don’t need much practice. I will only have to inspect the noose and the execution place once, see the measurement of the convicts and prepare myself for the execution.
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Father of the victim being interviewed at court
‘I have said earlier also that the execution in the gang-rape and murder should happen as early as possible.’
The final plea in the case, known as the Nirbhaya – or fearless – gang-rape and murder case, is not expected to be granted. If the execution goes ahead, it will be India’s first use of capital punishment since 2015.
Asha Devi, mother of the 23-year-old victim said on Tuesday: ‘This judgement will reinforce people’s faith in the judiciary. My daughter will get justice.’
In court, there was a moment of drama as Mukesh’s mother went to Asha and begged for her son’s life to be saved.
‘Please forgive my son. I am begging you for his life’, she said, according to NDTV.
‘I had a daughter too. What happened with her? How can I forget,’ she replied.
Jyoti was riding on a bus through Delhi on December 16, 2012, when she and a male friend were attacked by six men including the bus driver.
Awindra Pratap Pandey described being beaten unconscious with a metal bar, before the men took it in turns to rape and torture Jyoti – who was nicknamed Nirbhaya or ‘fearless’ by Indian media.
The metal bar was used to inflict catastrophic internal injuries on the physiotherapy student, who was dumped naked by the side of the road.
Awindra survived with minor injuries, but Jyoti had to be flown to Singapore for specialist treatment. She died two weeks later, on December 29.
The case caught international attention, sparked weeks of national protests, prompted a change in laws around sex crimes, and harsher penalties for attackers.
Five men and one juvenile were initially arrested for the attack, and fast-tracked through the Indian court system where sex crime trials often take years to play out.
One of the men, Ram Singh, died in custody in 2013 with an autopsy ruling he hanged himself, though his family argue he was killed.
The juvenile was convicted of rape and murder and sentenced to the harshest possible punishment – imprisonment for three years in a reform institution.
The remaining four men were convicted of rape and murder in September 2013 and sentenced to death.
All four men subsequently launched legal appeals, fighting all the way to the Supreme Court.
The last appeal to be heard was from Akshay, who argued that since pollution in Delhi was so bad he couldn’t be expected to live long and hanging was unnecessary.
The court rejected his petition, saying he had provided no evidence that was not already considered by the lower courts.
In their ruling, the judges lambasted his legal team for seeking a ‘re-hearing of appeal over and over again.’
Preparations for the execution have already begun at Delhi’s Tihar jail, with a mock hanging already carried out to test that the gallows still work.
A hangman is being brought to the city from Meerut, some 40 miles away, along with ropes from Buxar, some 450 miles distant.
Officials told NDTV that preparations began last month, after the final appeal failed and in preparation for Tuesday’s black warrant being issued.
The men are currently being kept in separate cells and are being monitored around the clock by CCTV to prevent them from killing themselves.