At 5.30 am Friday, the four December 16 gangrape and murder case convicts — Mukesh Singh, Akshay Singh Thakur, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma — were hanged inside Jail No. 3 of New Delhi’s Tihar Jail. Delhi Prisons DG Sandeep Goel said, “All convicts hanged at 5.30 am. Bodies will be kept hanging for 30 minutes.”
Outside, hundreds had gathered at Gate No. 3 as the Delhi Police deployed additional forces to manage crowds. At 6.22 am, Goel said, “Doctor has examined and declared all four dead.”
The bodies will be sent to Delhi’s Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU) Hospital for the post-mortem examination, after which they would be handed over to the families.
The victim’s mother Asha Devi said, “I am proud of my daughter, I couldn’t save her and that is a regret I’ll always have… If she was alive today, I would have been known as a doctor’s mother…
“Justice was denied but finally it happened. I thank the judiciary, our President, and our governments. If such a crime happens to a woman or a girl in your family, then first extend support to the woman. We will continue fighting for the daughters of India.”
Till midnight, drama unfolded in the Delhi High Court after it upheld the trial court order rejecting the convicts’ application seeking a stay on their execution. After this, the counsel of three of the four convicts, advocate AP Singh, approached the Supreme Court registrar seeking a stay on their execution.
A bench of Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and A S Bopanna heard the plea of convict Pawan Gupta, at 2.30 am. An hour later, at 3.30 am, the Supreme Court dismissed the convict’s petition.
The convict’s counsel wanted “permission for the family of Pawan and Akshay to meet them.” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, after checking with officials, said that the jail manual doesn’t allow it.
On December 16, 2012, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student was raped and assaulted by six men on a moving bus in the national capital, and left to die. The incident had led to nationwide protests demanding steps ensuring safety of women. The woman died at a hospital in Singapore 13 days later.
Of the six, one was a juvenile at the time of the incident and was tried by the Juvenile Justice Board and served the maximum sentence of three years in a remand home. Another, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide inside Tihar Jail in 2013.
In May 2017, the Supreme Court had upheld the conviction and death sentence to the four convicts by a trial court, which was confirmed by the Delhi High Court.
The death warrants were stayed three times since January pending legal remedies of the four death row convicts.
The hearing on the execution of death warrants had moved forward last year after the victim’s mother moved an application to shift the case from a vacant court, where the matter remained unheard for months.
This was the first time that four men were hanged simultaneously inside the prison complex, which carried out the last hanging in 2013 of Afzal Guru, who was convicted for his role in the 2001 Parliament Attack.
Also read | A brief profile of the four convicts
For the hanging of the four men, Pawan Jallad, a hangman from UP’s Meerut, was called on March 17. For each hanging, he was paid Rs 15,000. Apart from this, ropes from Bihar’s Buxar were brought in for the hanging with jail authorities and the hangman conducting dummy executions multiple times.
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