A convict on death row who had expressed a last wish to return to his home state, Haryana, where he wanted to spend the rest of his time before being hanged has been turned down by three different states -- Delhi, Haryana and Punjab.
Balbir Singh was given the death penalty six months before Yakub Memon and has been languishing behind bars in Bengal ever since. However, despite the jail authorities’ best efforts, he is yet to find jails in either Haryana, Punjab or Delhi that are willing to accomodate him.
Singh, a head constable with the Border Security Force (BSF), was found guilty of murdering two of his superiors during his posting in Tripura and was sentenced to death on March 2, 2007, by a BSF court. The case is presently being heard in the Supreme Court.
“He (Balbir) wanted to be shifted to some jail near Haryana, which is his native state, so that he could be close to his family members. Our department tried its best to communicate with the jail authorities in Haryana and Delhi. But there was no positive response. Some stated that they had no infrastructure for executing the death penalty, others gave reasons like overcrowded jails,” said Adhir Sharma, ADG state prisons, who personally interceded following Singh’s request.
“There should be a protocol for prisoner transfer throughout the country,” said Sharma.
Singh (52), presently lodged at Dum Dum central jail, is a condemned prisoner who has been behind bars for eight years — the longest term of all death-row prisoners in the state.
For the past three years, Singh himself and his family members have been appealing to various forums, the jail authorities in Bengal, constitutional heads like the Prime Minister and others for his transfer to a prison near Haryana. Recently, the Bengal jail authorities took up the plea.