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Nirbhaya: Tihar asks convicts to finalise date for drafting will, last meeting with their kin

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New Delhi, Jan 16: None of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape case has informed Tihar jail authorities as to when they would like to meet their families the last time, even as their execution is unlikely to take place on January 22 as scheduled.

Jail officials said on Wednesday that there is no restriction on them as yet on meeting their families.

Nirbhaya: Tihar asks convicts to finalise date for drafting will, last meeting with their kin

An official said one of the convicts -- Akshay Kumar Singh (31) -- speaks to his wife over phone through in-house facility, though she has not visited him since November. When asked the reason, Akshay told the authorities that she would only come when he tells her to.

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An official said, "They are allowed to meet their families and there is no restriction placed on them meeting their families as yet." The four death row convicts -- Vinay (26), Akshay (28), Mukesh Kumar Singh (32) and Pawan Gupta (25) -- were scheduled to be hanged on January 22. However, the Delhi government told the High Court on Wednesday their execution has to be postponed in view of the pendency of a mercy petition by one of them.

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    The four have been kept in separate cells after their death warrant was issued on January 7. "Each of the cell is guarded by at least three-four guards who are around them 24 hours and are under CCTV surveillance. There are no fans inside their cells. They are placed in isolation and are not allowed to mix up with anyone. We have not allowed them to interact with each other as well," the jail official said.

    Outside the cell, there is open space where they can walk, exercise or perform yoga, they added.

    The four are regularly counselled by doctors and psychiatrists who interact with them to ensure they are in "good state" of mind. "Medical checkups are being regularly conducted and counselling is also given by the psychiatrists who interact with them to ensure their mental wellbeing," said Sandeep Goel, DG (Prisons). "We are building confidence in them that we are neutral.

    Allowing them to meet their families and interact on phone is good for their mental frame," another jail official said. The four have not been shifted to Jail No. 3 yet, where the execution will take place. The official said they are likely to be shifted there in the next two days. They are on a normal diet and are being served the same food in their cells as prisoners in other wards, he added.

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    Vinay's father had come to meet him on Tuesday and Mukesh's mother also keeps visiting him, an official said. Pawan's family members too visit him and last saw him on January 7, he said. But Akshay's wife last came to meet him in November and he has had no visitors from the family since the pronouncement of the execution date.

    However, he regularly speaks to his wife over phone, the jail official added. A Delhi court had issued their death warrants on January 7. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court had dismissed the curative pleas of Mukesh and Vinay.

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