35 inmates executed since 1950; 27 on death row at Yerawada jail
Importantly, 27 inmates lodged in the central jail are awaiting execution as their cases are either being heard in higher courts or mercy petitions are awaiting reviewUpdated: Jan 21, 2020 16:45 IST
In light of recent developments in the December 16, 2012, Delhi rape case, where the four convicts are set to face gallows on February 1, attention is drawn to Yerawada Central Jail, where according to official records, 35 convicts have been executed by hanging since 1950.
Importantly, 27 inmates lodged in the central jail are awaiting execution as their cases are either being heard in higher courts or mercy petitions are awaiting review.
Sisters Seema Gavit and Renuka Shinde convicted of kidnapping and killing five children are awaiting execution as their clemency plea is awaiting a decision.
Some of the convicts of high profile cases to have been executed at Yerawada Central Jail are Kasab, Jinda-Sukha, and four youth in the Abhyankar-Joshi murder case.
Terrorist Ajmal Kasab, who was the main attacker in 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks was the last person to be executed at Yerawada Central Jail on November 21, 2017.
The Khalistani terrorist duo Jinda and Sukha, convicted of the murder of former Army Chief late Gen Arun Kumar Vaidya, who spearheaded the operation Blue Star, were executed at Yerawada Central Jail in 1992.
On August 10, 1985, Harjinder Singh alias Jinda and Sukhdev Singh alias Sukha gunned down General Vaidya in Pune after his retirement from the Indian Army.
In 1983, four convicts of the gruesome Joshi-Abhyankar killings were executed inside Yerawada Central Jail premises.
The four convicts, Rajendra Jakkal, Dilip Sutar, Shantaram Kanhoji Jagtap and Munawwar Harun Shah, were hanged to death on October 25, 1983. They were involved in 10 murders in Joshi-Abhyankar serial killings committed by them between Jan 1976 and March 1977.
Their usual strategy was to break into homes, threaten the residents at gunpoint and then have them redirect the group towards the valuables. After that, they would murder the family members by first stuffing cotton in their mouths and then strangling them with a nylon rope. Especially in the murders of Achyut Joshi and the Abhyankars, the murderers followed the same pattern.
The group were students of commercial art at Abhinav Kala Mahavidyalaya, Sadashiv peth who were notorious for drinking and stealing two-wheelers. The four were convicted when Subhash Chandak, a classmate of the murderers who was an accused, spilled the beans.
“When the four were brought to court for the final judgement, a large crowd had gathered to see them. None of the accused showed any signs of remorse and waved their hands to the crowd instead of being ashamed of their guilt. They acted as if though their deeds were heroic,” said Sharad Awasthi, retired assistant commissioner of police, investigating officer in the case.
“Kasab failed to conceal the fear on his face and had lost his mental balance at the time of the hanging. He did not resist while he was being taken to the gallows but had folded his hands a while before he was set up on the platform,” a central agency official, on the condition of anonymity, who was present at the time of hanging.
Kasab was hanged in Yerawada Central Jail after he was brought to the city in an overnight operation discreetly and the news was made public after his execution.
Inspector General of Prison Sunil Ramanand when contacted said, “Right now I am in the director-general of police’s conference in Mumbai which is being attended by the Chief Minister.”
Advocate Asim Sarode, who campaigns for human rights said in most cases there is a delay in execution of capital punishments due to various reasons.
“Most convicts on death row at Yerawada Central Jail have been sentenced to death and their punishment was upheld by the Supreme Court. Once the top court decides and even the mercy petition is rejected, the person can be sent to gallows. Any delay gives the convict right to seek commutation of the sentence as it gives them right to survive with lesser punishment,” said Advocate Asim Sarode.