Tihar jail readies for Nirbhaya death row convicts
New Delhi, Mar 17: Seven years after the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru in 2013, the Tihar jail in Delhi is under the spotlight for yet another high-profile execution.
While Afzal Guru's hanging was a guarded act, the execution of four death row convicts in the sensational Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case, slated for March 20, has been a much-discussed affair.
Afzal Guru, a medical college dropout and resident of Sopore in north Kashmir, was executed at 8 am on February 9, 2013 and buried on the prison premises.
His mercy plea was rejected on February 3, 2013 by then President Pranab Mukherjee.
The first hanging date fixed for him was October 20, 2006, according to the book 'Black Warrant' written by former Tihar jail law officer Sunil Gupta and journalist Sunetra Choudhury.
Since Guru's wife Tabassum filed a mercy plea with then President APJ Abdul Kalam, his hanging could not take place. Kalam and even his successor Pratibha Patil did not take a decision on his hanging, even though Patil pardoned 34 other convicts, the book said.
As part of the ritual before hanging, the jail authorities practice a dummy execution with sandbags according to the prisoner's weight.
The ropes used in the hanging are called 'Manila Ropes', which are especially brought from Buxar jail in Bihar.
On March 5 this year, a trial court had issued fresh warrants with March 20, 5.30 am, as the date for the execution of the convicts - Mukesh Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) in the Nirbhaya case.
This is the fourth death warrant against the convicts. The earlier three warrants were deferred pending the exhaustion of legal remedies by the convicts.