The horrendous December 16, 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case will lead to free India seeing its first multiple execution with the four convicts due to be hanged in the gallows site in Jail No. 3 of the capital’s Tihar Jail complex on January 22.
As a Delhi court issued death warrants for the four convicts on Tuesday, the question arises whether India, after Independence, saw death penalty being executed on so many people together. Experts say no.
Talking to IANS, former IPS officer R.K. Chaturvedi, who retired in 2018 as Uttar Pradesh’s Inspector General of Police (Intelligence), said that in his over 60 years of life in which more than 35 years were spent in the police, including postings in prisons, he had never come across a case in which four people went to the gallows at one time.
“If this is done, it will be a new entry in the annals of criminal punishment in India,” he said.
Chaturvedi, who was Additional Jail Superintendent in Allahabad’s Naini Jail between 1984 and 1987, said that during his time there, he had seen the execution of two convicts at a time but never thought that four would climb up the gallows at one go.
In his time, army deserter and dacoit Vikram Singh and a school teacher convicted of murdering five people were sent to the gallows.
Tihar Jail’s retired Law Officer Sunil Gupta, whose book “Black Warrant: Confessions of a Tihar Jailer” recounts his service in the capital’s jail, particularly his witnessing the executions of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination conspirator Kehar Singh, and Kashmiri militant Maqbool Bhatt, is also of similar opinion.
Both Chaturvedi and Gupta said that a mass execution may have been carried out during the British rule, but no one can be sure of it.
However, both agreed that the death sentence to the four counvicts is justified.