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Check-ups of Convicts, Dummy Execution Today: Tihar Jail Sets in Motion Formalities Ahead of D-Day

By: Nitisha Kashyap

Edited By: Sohini Goswami

CNN-News18

Last Updated: January 08, 2020, 00:00 IST

File photo of Tihar Jail.

File photo of Tihar Jail.

The four convicts are likely to be hanged simultaneously by a hangman from Meerut amid reports that a new gallows frame is being readied for this purpose.

New Delhi: Hours after a Delhi court issued death warrants against the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case and declared they will be hanged at 7 am on January 22, a senior Tihar Jail official said the men will be executed in Jail No 3.

The death warrant, also known as black warrant, addressed to the office of the Tihar jail chief, was issued by Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora against Mukesh, 32, Pawan Gupta, 25, Vinay Sharma, 26, and Akshay Kumar Singh, 31.

"We have received the court order and will plan the execution of the four accordingly. The convicts will now be put in isolated cells and won’t be allowed to have any interaction with other prisoners,” a jail source said.

Another source said the prison authorities in Uttar Pradesh will be approached to make available a hangman from Meerut to carry out the execution in the biggest prison complex in Asia.

The source said that in all likelihood, the four men will be hanged simultaneously amid reports that a new gallows frame is being readied for this purpose.

"Our team of doctors will conduct regular medical check-ups to keep a tab on their physical and mental health. We will also take care of their safety. Also, the families of the men can come and meet them during this period," he said.

Here’s a list of the preparatory measures the jail authorities are likely to undertake over the next few days:

- Write to UP Prisons authorities again informing them of the date of execution as decided by the lower court. This is the second letter written by Tihar. The earlier one was a request to allow them a hangman on short-information basis. This time, it is being written to inform them of the date of execution.

- Tihar officials say the hangman from Meerut would be able to execute all the four men simultaneously.

- Three of the accused are in Jail No. 2 and the fourth in Jail No. 4. One of the convicts, who was earlier lodged at Mandoli jail, was shifted back to Tihar in December.

- Although they will be kept in separate cells, Tihar has made an arrangement that they can see and hear other prisoners. However, they won’t be allowed to interact with them.

- Tihar will prepare a case history of each of the four convicts.

- The four convicts will be checked daily in the presence of a deputy superintendent. They will also be checked every time they are taken out of or return to their cells.

- The prison officer will observe their behaviour with a focus on mental health.

- All the four are now under observation of a guard 24x7. The guard will not be given more than two hours of duty. None of the convicts will be taken out of their cells unless there is proper security.

Facilities to the four convicts from hereon

- Religious books, religious pictures, other religious emblems subject to security check, newspapers and books.

- The authorities will also ask the convicts if they want to meet any family member or relative or friend before the execution. If desired, arrangements will be made accordingly.

- The convicts will be allowed to meet relatives, friends, lawyers twice a week. The frequency could be increased if the jail authorities think it is going to be beneficial and bring solace to the convicts. During such meetings, jail authorities will ensure all the security measures are followed.

Communications with special marking

An official said, “A distinctive red envelope with the words ‘Death Sentence’ and ‘immediate’ marked on the top left and right hand corners respectively, shall be used.”

The superintendents have been directed to ensure special arrangements to ensure details of any communication received in these envelops, be it any time of the day, is maintained in the register.

Arrangement for execution

The Tihar prison authorities have already inspected the gallows in December. The inspection was done by an executive engineer of PWD along with Tihar officials. On Wednesday, another inspection will be conducted. The final round of inspection will be on the evening before the execution date.

During the inspection gallows are checked, ropes are tested. For this, a dummy sand bag weighing 1.5kg times the weight of the convict is hanged and dropped between 1.830 m and 2.440 m.

Two spare ropes for each of the convicts (meaning eight spare ropes) will be kept in reserved on the scaffold in case of any eventuality.

The medical officer will report the drop and on that basis, its length will be decided. The drop and length of the rope is decided on the basis of the height and weight of the convict.

Wax or butter will be applied to the loop of the rope. After the ropes and other equipment are tested, the items will be securely locked and sealed in a steel box under the supervision of the deputy superintendent.

Who all will be present during the execution?

The superintendent, deputy superintendent, medical officer in-charge and resident medical officer along with the district magistrate. In case the district magistrate cannot come, additional district magistrate would be present. A priest of the convict’s faith can be allowed, if the latter wants.

Relatives of the convicts will not be allowed to witness the execution. Ten constables or warders and two head constables or head warders will be present at the execution.

All other prison inmates will remain locked till the execution is over and the bodies removed from prison.

Process of execution

The superintendent will first go to his office to ensure there is no pending communication from competent authorities in connection with the execution. The superintendent, DM/ADM, medical officer and deputy superintendent will visit the convicts in their cell before 7am. If there is any document pending for attestation of the convicts, it will be done before the DM. It is mostly the convict’s will or any other declaration.

Only the superintendent, DM/ADM and medical officer will be present near the scaffold.

While taking the convicts out from their cells, they will be guarded by the deputy superintendent, head warder and six warders. Two of them will walk in front, two behind and two holding the arms.

When the convicts will come near the scaffold, the superintendent will identify the convicts in front of the magistrate. (It’s like the test identification parade where the superintendent confirms to the magistrate that he has identified the convict and he is the same who is supposed to be hanged.)

The convicts will not be allowed to see the gallows enclosure and hence, they will be brought with a cotton cap and a flap on their face. Their hands would also be tied behind them.

The executioner will tie the legs of the convicts together and adjust the rope around the neck tightly.

The superintendent will supervise the hang room before the hanging and check the rope around the neck of convicts are adjusted properly and knot is placed in the proper position.

The warder will hold the convicts’ arm till the signal is given. It is only after receiving the signal from the superintendent, that the hangman will push the lever to release the trap-door.

After the execution, the body will remain hung for 30 minutes. It will be taken down only after the resident medical officer confirms that convict is dead.

Arrangement of the disposal of the body

According to Tihar authorities, the body is disposed of according to the religion of the convict. If a relative or family member of the prisoner wants to perform the last rites, that individual will have to give in writing that that no public demonstration would be done. The request could be cancelled if the officials apprehend otherwise.

(With inputs from PTI)

first published:January 07, 2020, 22:02 IST
last updated:January 08, 2020, 00:00 IST