Dharampal,the Haryana rape convict who was released on parole and went on to murder five members of the victims family,is set to be hanged next week. President Pranab Mukherjee has rejected his mercy petition,pending for 14 years.
Initially accused of raping a girl in Sonepat in 1991,Dharampal was given a 10-year jail sentence in 1993. He had allegedly threatened the girl against deposing in court. Within five days of being granted parole in1993,he bludgeoned the girls parents Tale Ram and Krishna,sister Neelam and brothers Praveen and Tinu while they were sleeping at their home.
Dharampals brother Nirmal,who helped him commit the murders,too was sentenced to death. The Supreme Court upheld Dharampals sentence and commuted Nirmals to life in 1999. Nirmal went on to jump parole in 2001 before being re-arrested 10 years later.
Dharampals mercy plea,initially moved in 1999 and rejected the following year,was re-submitted in 2005 but remained pending until last December,when the home ministry sent the President seven mercy petitions,including Dharampals.
Following the rejection,Haryana is struggling with arrangements for the execution. Of the states 19 jails,only the ones at Ambala and Hisar have facilities for a hanging,and the last execution,that of murderer Gulab Singh at Ambala,had taken place as far back as 1989. Dharampal is currently in Rohtak jail.
Haryana has no specialist hangman either,though the jail superintendent can appoint anyone he deems fit for the job.
The date of the execution will be finalised after the government completes the procedure of getting the death warrant from the Sonepat trial court.