The National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) special court in Hyderabad has awarded the death penalty to Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal and four other terrorists in connection with the 2013 twin blasts at the bustling Dilsukhnagar area in Hyderabad.
There is a problem, though. None of the prisons in Hyderabad, Telangana or for that matter neighbouring Andhra Pradesh have the facility to hang them. And, as there are no gallows, the department has not bothered to fill the vacancies for hangmen either.
“We have no facility for hanging prisoners because we have not come across such cases in a long time. Though we have modernised our prisons, gallows are absent in all the prisons,” A Narasimha, Telangana inspector general of prisons, told HT.
One such facility was constructed at the Secunderabad Central Jail in Musheerabad during the British regime, but it was demolished along with the rest of the prison in 2003 to make space for the Gandhi Hospital.
The jail was then shifted to Cherlapalli on the city outskirts, where the terrorists are currently lodged. The NIA special court also operates from the same facility.
The last time somebody was hanged at Musheerabad jail was on December 1, 1975, when two Naxalites — Bhumaiah and Kista Goud — were sent to the gallows during the Emergency. “Since then, there have been no hangings in any part of Telangana,” Narasimha said.
Before the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, the only prisons to have such a facility were the Rajahmundry and Visakhapatnam central jails. Department sources said the last hanging in Andhra Pradesh took place at Rajahmundry jail — the oldest in the state — in February 1976. It pertained to one Nambi Kistappa of Anantapur in connection with a murder case.
Inquiries revealed that as many as 92 executions were carried out in these three jails since Independence, of which Rajahmundry Central Jail accounted for 42 hangings, Musheerabad Jail for 32 and Visakhapatnam Central Jail for 18.
However, the jail official asserted that the department was fully prepared to construct makeshift gallows to hang Bhatkal and the others if their death sentence gets confirmed.
“We need just a week’s time to make the arrangements. As far as a hangman is concerned, we might get one from another state on deputation,” he said.