‘If he had to be hanged, why was he in jail for 15 years?’
The kin of death row convict Mahendra Nath Das have urged Assam governor JB Patnaik and chief minister Tarun Gogoi to intervene to put his hanging on hold as they plan to move the Supreme Court for commuting his death sentence to life imprisonment. HT reports.Updated: Jun 02, 2011 00:59 IST
The kin of death row convict Mahendra Nath Das have urged Assam governor JB Patnaik and chief minister Tarun Gogoi to intervene to put his hanging on hold as they plan to move the Supreme Court for commuting his death sentence to life imprisonment.
President Pratibha Devisingh Patil had last month rejected Das’ mercy plea along with that of Punjab convict Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar.
The home ministry had accordingly notified the Assam government on May 12, saying Das should be hanged. Das, 49, was subsequently shifted from Guwahati Central Jail to Jorhat Jail, the only designated jail in Assam for carrying out capital punishment.
A resident of Chenga in western Assam’s Barpeta district, Das had on April 24, 1996, beheaded Harakanta Das, 68, in a fit of rage. He then gave himself up at the Fancy Bazaar police outpost along with the severed head and a blood-dripping machete.
Das’ kin were unhappy with the President’s rejection of the mercy plea. “My son has already spent 15 years in jail. If he had to be hanged, why did they keeep him in jail for so many years?” asked his mother Kusum Bala, 74.
“I don’t understand law, but isn’t this like punishing him twice for the same crime?”
“We will file a petition under Article 32, citing provisions under Article 21 (right to live),” said senior advocate Nekibur Zaman. “We will also cite a 1989 SC order that commuted the death sentence of a convict to life term because of the delay in disposing the mercy petition.”
Zaman added a Mumbai-based lawyer and human rights activist had also written to the chief minister and Assam inspector-general (prisons) to put Das’ execution on hold.
First Published: Jun 02, 2011 00:58 IST