There are seasoned criminals in India but we rarely hear anyone getting a death sentence so frequently let alone that be a woman. Here are few facts about female hanging in India-:
- There are 12 women on death row, according to a 2016 report on the death penalty in India released by national law university.
- There is only one Indian prison that has provisions to hang a female convict, the Mathura jail.
- The first female hanging house was built approximately 150 years ago.
- The hangman Pawan Kumar of the nirbhaya rape case visited Mathura jail to inspect the hanging room.
Shabnam Ali is the first woman that will be hanged in independent India. Here’s her story-
Shabnam Ali is from Bawankheri, a village in the outskirts of Amroha. She has a double MA in English and Geography and was a teacher in the village school before she was charged for the murder of seven of her family members in 2008. Shabnam was in a relationship with Saleem. Her family was against her relationship. It was because there was a difference in their socio-economic backgrounds. Her family were landlords while Saleem, a Pathan, was a daily wager
The couple brutally murdered Shabnam’s father Shaukat Ali aged 55, mother Hashmi aged 50, elder brother Anees aged 35, Anees’s wife Anjum aged 25, younger brother Rashid aged 22, cousin Rabia aged 14, and Arsh who was 10, Anees’s son. They were all sedated and their heads were chopped off, except Arsh, he was throttled to death. She was pregnant with the child of Saleem at that time, she gave birth in December.
During the trial, the couple turned against each other. Shabnam claimed that she had informed about her family’s murder. According to her initial statement, unknown assailants had barged into her house and killed her family.
In 2015, Shabnam in her statement said that Saleem was the one who entered the house with a knife and killed all the family members, she was sleeping. Saleem although confessed to entering the house only when Shabnam requested, and that when he reached there, she confessed to having murdered her family already.
Shabnam and Saleem were sentenced to death by an Amroha sessions court, which was upheld by the Allahabad High Court in 2013, and later the Supreme Court in May 2015. The supreme court after 10 days stayed the warrant.
Shabnam’s mercy plea was rejected by the then governor of Uttar Pradesh in 2015, Ram Naik. In August 2016, the then President Pranab Mukherjee also rejected her mercy petition.
It was in January 2020 that an SC bench led by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde upheld the death sentence saying that she has not yet exhausted her legal remedies.
Although Shabnam has not yet received a death warrant. As of now the hanging house for women has the structure of the gallows being fixed, and two hanging ropes have been ordered from Bihar’s Buxar central jail. Shabnam is lodged at Rampur jail.
“Shabnam could still seek another judicial review of the petition in SC. She could also file a curative petition,” SC lawyer Sarthak Chaturvedi told the media. “No one can be hanged until all the legal remedies are over.
On February 18, the 12-year-old son of Shabnam Ali, a death row convict, appealed to President Ram Nath Kovind to ‘forgive’ his mother. If the mercy plea goes unanswered, she will be the first woman in independent India to be hanged.
Image Source Gulf News
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