The four Nirbhaya convicts, Mukesh Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Singh (31) were executed in Delhi’s Tihar Jail at 5.30 am.
New Delhi| The four Nirbhaya convicts – Akshay Thakur, Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta – spent a restless night as they awaited their hanging in the wee hours of Friday. They wanted to see each other, but Tihar Jail authorities denied permission.
Sources inside the high-security prison, which went into a lockdown mode prior to the most anticipated execution of the four men convicted for the brutal gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old medical student in 2012, told IANS that at around 12 midnight, the hangman from Meerut, Pawan Jallad, was allowed to see the faces of all the four convicts, whom he was to execute in the next five-and-a-half hours, for the first time.
Convicts were hanged at 5:30 this morning, giving closure to the family of a young medical student who was gang-raped and tortured on a moving bus in Delhi in 2012.
People gathered outside the jail and began a countdown when one minute was left for the clock to strike 5.30 a.m. The moment the news of the execution was confirmed by Tihar authorities, people started clapping and thanked the judiciary and Delhi police for delivering justice to Nirbhaya.
All four were asked to go to sleep early Thursday night ahead of their execution but they remained wide awake till late. All of them were served their last meal but one of them refused breakfast before being taken to the gallows, an official said.
According to officials, the convicts even started to behave hysterically and misbehaved with the police personnel keeping an eye on them.
At 3.30 am the apex court gave the go-ahead for their execution.
By then, paramilitary personnel were deployed outside the Tihar Jail complex in order to prevent any untoward incident, even as the four convicts prepared for their final journey from their cell to the execution platform, more than seven years after their heinous crime led to judicial reforms in India’s rape laws.
At 4 a.m., the assistant jailer asked all the four men to take bath and get ready, to which Vinay retorted, sources said.
At 4.15 a.m., they were granted time to read any religious scripture they wanted to. But all of them turned down the proposal.
The four were then served their last breakfast.
At around 4.30 a.m., they prepared to take the long walk to the hanging area.
At 5.20 a.m., with their faces covered with a cotton cloth and hands tied behind their backs, the four convicts were taken to the ‘Phansi Kothi’ (execution chamber), as the hanging area in Tihar Jail is commonly known. During this time, none of the other prisoners were allowed to leave their respective cells.
The District Magistrate, Medical Examiner, Jail Superintendent and 10 other jail officials were present in the execution chamber.
At 5.25 a.m., a cotton cap with a flap was put on their faces just before they entered the gallows enclosures. Once inside the ‘Phansi Kothi’, the District Magistrate (DM) asked each of them for their final wish. Tihar sources said that none of the four convicts expressed any last wish.
The DM then counter-signed the ‘black’ warrant.
The convicts were then mounted on the scaffold and placed directly under the beam to which the ropes were attached. They were now under executioner Pawan’s watch, who strapped their legs tightly together and adjusted the rope around their necks.
“The Superintendent then gave the signal and the executioner pushed the lever to release the trap-door,” a Tihar source said.
After the execution, the bodies of the four men remained suspended for half-an-hour and were taken down at 6 a.m. after the doctor present announced that “life is extinct”.
“I am feeling satisfied as my daughter got justice today,” Nirbhaya’s mother Asha Devi said after the news of the executions broke out.
On Dec. 16, 2012, the medical student who came to be known as “Nirbhaya”, was fooled into boarding a bus, assaulted and tortured so brutally that she died days later.
Six men, including one just short of 18, were arrested after the 2012 gang rape of a young woman on a moving bus. One of the main accused, Ram Singh, was found hanging in his jail cell. The teen was released after three years in a reform home.
(Inputs from Gulfnews)