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Two sisters on death row in Pune’s Yerawada Jail are likely to be hanged next month, making them the first women to get the death penalty in India.
Renuka Kiran Shinde, 41, and Seema Mohan Gavit, 36, were found guilty in 2001 of kidnapping 13 children and killing nine of them to run a begging operation between 1990 and 1996. Last month, President Pranab Mukherjee turned down their clemency appeal.
Authorities at Yerawada Jail — one of two jails in Maharashtra that have gallows —– are consulting with police, revenue and medical officials to decide on the date of the hanging.
Indian courts only hand out death sentences for the rarest of crimes such as exceptionally heinous and cold-blooded murders. Ajmal Kasab, the sole surviving terrorist of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, was hanged in November 2012.
The two sisters, and their mother, kidnapped one to five-year-old children from poor families and forced them into begging.
Moving in crowded places such as railway stations and temples, they sometimes used the children to distract people while they stole and picked pockets.
When they felt the children had either outlived their usefulness or were being too troublesome, the women killed them brutally either by bashing their heads against a wall or starving them. In one instance, they carried a gunny bag with a child’s corpse in it, stopped for a snack and a movie before they got rid of the body.