New Delhi: Tears, aggression, silence — that was the mix of emotions in Tihar jail early Friday as the four men convicted of raping and murdering a paramedical student in 2012 were led to their hanging.
Mukesh, Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma were hanged at 5.30am Friday, two hours after their last petition to defer the hanging was dismissed by the Supreme Court.
Just as the four were being led to the gallows, Pawan and Akshay pushed the jail staff and hurled abuses at them, but they were brought under control, said a Tihar source.
Vinay, meanwhile, broke down, requesting authorities not to hang him and Mukesh maintained a stoic silence.
“It was just momentary aggression by the two convicts, may be because they felt helpless. Not that they were out of control. They wanted to break free, but were calmed down by the staff present in the phansi kotha compound,” the source said. “They were then taken to the gallows.”
According to the source, it was around 4 am that two doctors visited the prison cells of the convicts to check their vitals. After their health check-up, an officer asked them if they wanted to give anything to their families.
Three convicts — Pawan, Akshay and Vinay, who had earned around Rs 1,30,000 working as labourers inside the jail in the last seven years — told authorities that the money should be handed over to their families.
Mukesh had chosen not to work and so did not have anything to give his family, the source said.
After this interaction, the faces of all four convicts were covered by a black cloth — jail rules say convicts are not allowed to see the gallows — and they were taken to the platform where all four were made to stand together.
The source said the initial plan was for hangman Pawan to pull both levers, one after the other in quick succession, but in order to make the process even faster and to ensure that all four are hanged together, the other lever was pulled by a jail staff.
“The hangman had given training to the jail staff on how to pull the lever and also made them rehearse. Although hangman Pawan was to pull both levers, it was decided that the other lever will be pulled by a jail staff. This was done to ensure that all four hang at the same time,” the source said.
Their bodies were then taken down at 6 am, half an hour after they were hanged and sent for a post-mortem examination. All four bodies were handed over to the respective families at DDU hospital.
Drawing god, staring at the ceiling
While Pawan, Akshay and Mukesh did not sleep at all, Vinay spent the night drawing a figure of god, the source said.
Vinay then handed over the drawing to the Jail Superintendent before he was taken to the gallows.
“None of them slept at night. They said they were staring at the ceiling and were restless. Vinay sketched two pictures of Hindu gods. He gave one to the jail superintendent and asked us to give the other to his mother along with his other belongings,” the source said. “He was crying on the way to the gallows.”
The journey from their cells to the gallows was just a few minutes.
“We made sure that once their faces were covered and they were escorted to the gallows, they were hanged as soon as possible. That is because that walk to the gallows can break the strongest of people,” the source said.