Rumour of execution draws crowd to jail

Rumour of execution draws crowd to jail

The Hindalaga central prison in Belgaum, the only jail in the State to have the gallows, witnessed an unusually excited crowd of mediapersons on Sunday morning.

The rumour that the four aides of the slain forest brigand, Veerappan, who are on death row, would be hanged in the wee hours of Sunday, had drawn the crowd to the jail premises. However, an eerie silence prevailed on the premises, which witnessed no activities but for the staff moving around.

However, the officials in the jail, which had turned into a fortress with heightened security, confirmed that the death sentence would not be executed till they receive an official communication from the Sessions Court, Mysore, on the exact timing and date of the execution.

The officials said the preparations have been made to execute the death row convicts – Meesekara Madaiah, Simon, Bilavendra and Gnana­prakashan – all convicted in the case pertaining to the explosion of a landmine that killed 22 police personnel at Palar bridge in 1993.

The gallows were readied after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected their clemency petition and the Supreme Court refused to hear on urgent basis their petition for a stay on the capital punishment.

Health check-up has been conducted on all of them and they were found to be in good health. They did not show any sign of depression after coming to know of their imminent death, said Dr Vasanth Yamakanamaradi, the medical officer at the jail.
Sources said the assistant superintendent of the jail left for Mysore on Sunday to obtain the court’s verdict on the death sentence. The convicts would be hanged either on Monday or Tuesday.

To file another plea today

However, counsel for the convicts Shanti Phonseka from Goa, said: “In all probability, the death sentence will not be executed in the next two days. We will file a petition with the Supreme Court, seeking stay on the capital punishment on February 18.” The struggle will go on till the execution to prevent it, said the advocate, adding that: “They have served 20 years in jail, and they also displayed good conduct during their stay in the prison. The apex court has been appealed to consider these facts and commute the death sentence to life imprisonment.”

DH News Service

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