A dummy execution for the four Nirbhaya convicts was conducted at Delhi's Tihar Jail today, officials confirmed. The execution was carried out by Pawan Jallad, the hangman who has been summoned from Meerut Jail in Uttar Pradesh. The four - Pawan Gupta, Akshay, Vinay Sharma and Mukesh Singh - were scheduled to be executed at 6 am Saturday morning, but a Delhi court has deferred this pending settlement of pleas and petitions filed by the convicts.
This was the second dummy execution, which involves testing the gallows using weights equal to the weight of the convict, to be carried out this month; on January 12, four sacks filled with stones and debris were "hanged" ahead of the first date - January 22 - that was postponed for similar reasons.
"The dummy practice was conducted by Pawan (Jallad) and it passed very smoothly," Sandeep Goel, Deputy-General of Tihar Prisons, said.
A third-generation hangman, Pawan Jallad reported to Tihar Jail on Thursday for the Nirbhaya convicts' hanging and will stay on premises until the execution is completed.
Public Works Department officials, the Superintendent of Tihar Jail and other officials were present at Cell Block Number 3, where the dummy execution took place.
Cell Block Number 3 is where parliament attack convict Afzal Guru was hanged in 2013.
The convicts have filed, and continue to file, petitions before the courts in an attempt to delay the hanging. This evening the Supreme Court rejected, for the second time in as many weeks, Pawan Gupta's claim of being a minor at the time of the crime.
Earlier today Tihar Jail authorities told a Delhi court the Nirbhaya convicts' hanging could take place separately, if needed.
Apart from curative petitions before the top court, a mercy request has also been filed, by Vinay Sharma, before the President and a plea at a lower court has asked for the execution to be paused.
Also this evening a Delhi court deferred, for the second time, the execution of the convicts. In deeply distressing scenes outside the courtroom Nirbhaya's mother broke down and cried.
On December 16, 2012, the young woman who came to be known as "Nirbhaya" was gang-raped by six men on a moving bus, tortured with an iron rod and thrown off the vehicle. She died on December 29.
The savage assault stunned the nation and angry protesters filled the streets in their demand for justice.
Of the six men, one was found hanging in jail. The youngest, just short of 18 when the crime was committed, was released after three years in a reform home.
Nirbhaya's parents say the four men should be hanged tomorrow instead of being allowed to exploit the law to delay the process.
With input from ANI, PTI