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Kasab, India's 309th convict on death row

August 29, 2012 11:01 IST
With the Supreme Court confirming the death sentence awarded to 26/11 accused Ajmal Kasab, he becomes the 309th prisoner on death row in India. If executed, he will be the 52nd person to be hanged since independence.

India has in all 309 death row convicts while Maharashtra, where Kasab is lodged, has 39 of them. The state that tops this list is Bhar with 80 death row convicts while Uttar Pradesh comes next with 72.

Kasab will in all probability be hanged at Yerawada jail in Pune. There are two gallows in Maharashtra, one at Yerawada and the other at Nagpur. The state government may, however, choose the Yerawada jail for his hanging since it is closer to the place where Kasab is lodged, and this would reduce the risk while transporting him to the gallows.

The last of the hangmen that Maharashtra had was Jhadhav but he retired in 1995. However, the state may recall such a person if they do not find anyone else. In this case the state may prefer someone from outside as the whereabouts of Jhadhav are not known. The only hangman available today is the son of Nata Mullick who had carried out the execution of Dhananjoy Chatterjee. His son, Prabhat, who has been trained by his father has expressed willingness to take up after his father.

The state government would have to fix the date for Kasab's hanging and the suprintendent of the jail in which he would be hanged would have to first inform the relatives of the convict. Kasab, before his hanging, would also be given a right to prepare a will. The execution will be at sunrise.

On the day of the execution the superintendent, deputy superintendent, assistant superintendent incharge and the medical officer will be present at the spot. An executive magistrate deputed by the district magistrate will attend the execution and countersign the warrant. If the prisoner so desires, a priest of his faith may be allowed, at the discretion of the superintendent, to be present at the place of execution, subject to the requirements of security and prison discipline. The relatives of the prisoner and other prisoners will not be allowed to witness the execution. The Superintendent may, however, permit social scientists, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc who are conducting research to be present.
At the time of the execution prisoners of all categories will be kept locked up until the execution is over.

The night before the execution the prisoner shall be provided with food of his choice. The next day, two hours before the execution, he will be woken up and ordered to take a bath. A fresh set of clothes are then provided to him and the moment is he is out of the cell, his face will be hooded and hands tied behind and under no circumstance will he be allowed to see the gallows. The prisoner will be made to walk through the passageway which is around 20 metres and is covered in less than a minute.

Once the execution is carried out, the body will remain suspended for half an hour and taken down only once the medical officer has certified the prisoner as dead. The body will be disposed off according to religious requirements. In case the family members of the convict make a request in writing, the superintendent may hand over the body on the condition that no public display is made when the cremation or burial takes place.

Now about the noose:

  • If the prisoner weighs less than 100 lb or 45 kg, he should be given a drop of eight feet or 2.5 mtrs.
  • If the prisoner weighs between 100 and 133 lb or between 45 and 60 kg, he should be given a drop of seven feet eight inches or 2.3 mtrs.
  • If the prisoner weighs more than 133 lb or 60 kg, but not more than 166 lbs or 75 kg, he should be given a drop of seven feet or 2.2 mtrs.
  • If the prisoner weighs more than 166 lb or 75 kg but not more than 200 lb or 91 kg, he should be given a drop of six feet 6 inches or 2 mtrs.

  • If the prisoner weighs more than 200 lb or 91 kg, he should be given a drop of six feet or 1.83 mtrs.
Vicky Nanjappa