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HindustanTimes Fri,24 Oct 2014

It’s not end of road, jail officials counsel convicts

Jatin Anand, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 12, 2013
First Published: 01:12 IST(12/9/2013) | Last Updated: 01:14 IST(12/9/2013)

The authorities at west Delhi’s Tihar Jail are trying several out-of-the-box ideas to save the December 16 gang rape convicts from psychological trauma to prevent them from attempting suicide.

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With a little more than a day between them and what could be a possible death sentence, accused Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Akshay Thakur are being made to seek solace in the lives of imprisoned terrorists, sources claimed.

“During counselling sessions, which began as soon as they came back from the Saket court on Tuesday, they were told that a conviction doesn’t necessarily mean a death sentence,” said an official.

They are being cited examples of the prison careers of 48-year-old death-row convict Devinder Singh Bhullar and the recently-hung Parliament attack accused Afzal Guru. “They may have been convicted but there are legal alternatives available to them still. They have a right to know about such alternatives, such as appealing against the sentence pronounced against them by the district court in the Delhi High court and, if all fails, then the Supreme Court.”

Though the legality of this cannot be questioned, sources said what actually underlined these ‘efforts’ was a deliberate attempt at ensuring that none of the four accused were allowed unrestrained psychological trauma that might trigger a suicide bid like co-accused Ram Singh.

Ram Singh had been found hanging from the ceiling of his cell on the morning of March 11 this year — four days after he met his parents when he allegedly told them that he was being tortured by other inmates.

In another development, sources claimed, the defence lawyers, on Wednesday, had argued that the two of the accused should be let off with life sentences due to their respective age at the time of the incident.

“It was also argued that since Mukesh was driving the bus and was only involved in sexual assault and not the 23-year-old victim’s murder, he too was likely to get life imprisonment. They just need to wait till Friday,” the official added.

Police recruitment

The Union home ministry will fill the 522 vacant posts of constables in the Delhi Police with women. The recruitment process has already begun, the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Sushil Kumar Shinde-led ministry’s move comes in the wake of the verdict in the December 16 gang rape case.

An additional 1,084 posts have been created for women personnel in the city police.

The centre has approved installation of 5,312 surveillance cameras in the capital, of which 2,677 have been installed at important locations.


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Delhi gang rape: SC stays hanging of 2 convicts

The Supreme Court Saturday stayed the execution of the death sentence of Mukesh and Pawan Gupta, two of the four convicts for the Dec 16, 2012 gang rape, whose death sentences was upheld by the Delhi High Court March 13.
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