New Delhi: Executions are rare in India and death sentences are awarded only in cases of rarest of rare crimes.
Among the last few executions witnessed in India were of Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, a Pakistani terrorist, and Afzal Guru, conspirator in Parliament attack case.
While the debate continues over whether capital punishment is justified or not, there is an interesting aspect associated with it.
Why are those on death row executed before sunrise?
We all have seen in films that whenever any prisoner is executed, only a handful of persons are present to witness the act.
Among them are a judicial executioner, a magistrate or his representative, a doctor and some policemen.
And there are several reasons why executions are carried out before sunrise in India.
- Jail authorities have to focus a lot of energies on carrying out an execution and they wind up the same before sunrise so that it does not affect their daily schedule. Requirements pre and post execution include medical tests and noting of procedures in multiple registers.
- The body also needs to be handed over to the prisoner's family post execution in time so that they can conduct the last rites the same day.
- Executions are carried out early in the morning so as to ensure that the person on death row does not have to wait for long on a day he is due to be hanged and to prevent him from undergoing further mental trauma.
- Hangings are carried out early in the morning in order to prevent sudden reactions from the society as most people are asleep when the development takes place.