Mercy plea rejected, but Assam can’t find hangman

Samudra Gupta Kashyap

With President Pratibha Patil rejecting Mahendra Nath Das’s plea for clemency, the decks have been cleared for his hanging. But the authorities are unable to find a hangman.

“The convict, who was in Guwahati Central Jail for the last several years, has already been shifted to Jorhat, the only designated jail in Assam for carrying out death sentences. But we are yet to find a hangman,” said Simanta Thakuriya, IG, Prisons. “We have written to the authorities in West Bengal and other states, but are yet to get any positive response,” he said.

The last time that a hanging was carried out in Jorhat jail was on July 27, 1990, when the hangman was brought in from Uttar Pradesh. “We don’t have a hangman in Assam, the last two hangings were done by a hangman from UP,” said Paresh Chandra Koch, superintendent, Jorhat jail.

Das, 48, was given the death sentence for beheading a man in Guwahati on April 24, 1996. “Das is lodged in a 12x6 feet cell, where he spends most of his time reading the Gita,” said Brajen Das, jailor of the Jorhat Central Jail.