As the four convicts of the gang-rape case of December 16, 2012, are set to be hanged, a jail in Bihar's Buxar district has directed authorities to keep 10 pieces of execution ropes ready by the end of this week. The development has raised speculations that the direction by the Bihar jail is for Nirbahaya convicts. A young woman in Delhi had died after she was raped and was brutalised inside a moving bus in the national capital.
The Buxar jail, the only prison in the state having the required knowhow, received an instruction to the effect last week, though it was not known where these ropes -- strong with a short shelf-life -- would be dispatched.
"We received instructions from the prison directorate to keep 10 ropes ready by December 14. We do not know where these will be used. But the Buxar jail has a long tradition of manufacturing execution ropes," Buxar jail superintendent Vijay Kumar Arora said.
It takes about three days to prepare one rope and mainly involves manual labour, with a little use of motorised machinery, he said.
"It is from this jail a rope was sent for executing Parliament attack case-accused Afzal Guru. In 2016-17 we had also received orders from Patiala jail, though we do not know the purpose," Arora stated.
The last time when a rope was supplied, it was priced at Rs 1,725, he said.
"The rate varies from time to time mainly on account of fluctuations in prices of iron and brass. These metals are used to make bushes that are fastened around the rope to ensure that the noose remains firm around the neck and the knot does not come undone when a human body is suspended from it," the jail superintendent explained.
Asked about the manpower required for the job, he said, "Normally five to six persons are engaged in making one rope. Yarns made of 152 strands of thread each are plaited together to come up with a rope of desired dimensions. Each rope uses up close to 7000 such strands," he said.
Meeting the deadline is not going to be a problem as there is a sufficient number of able-bodied prisoners who can withstand the rigour as well as the experienced ones who can provide supervision and advice, Arora noted.
"One thing about these ropes is that if stored for long after manufacture, these become unfit for use," he added.
The recent sexual assault and murder of a veterinarian in Hyderabad and the subsequent killing of the accused in a police encounter have evoked a fresh clamour -- including appeals by family members of the Delhi victim -- for the execution of the convicts whose death sentence was upheld by
the Supreme Court more than a year ago.
Last week, Vinay Sharma, one of the convicts in the Delhi gangrape case, had sought immediate withdrawal of his mercy plea from President Ram Nath Kovind, saying it was sent without his consent.
Incidentally, another convict in the case, Akshay Thakur, who worked as a cleaner on the bus, hails from Aurangabad district in Bihar.