MEERUT: Expressing “shock” over the Allahabad HC’s verdict acquitting prime suspects Surinder Koli and Moninder Singh Pandher in the 2006 Nithari case, hangman Pawan Kumar, also known as ‘Pawan Jallad’, who was appointed to tie the noose around Koli’s neck at the Meerut jail in 2015, said, “A convicted criminal whose mercy petition was rejected by the President has been let off. It’s distressing.”
Recounting preparations he put in place for the execution then, Pawan told TOI on Tuesday: “I had worked for 10 days to keep the execution apparatus in order as no hanging had taken place in Meerut jail since the mid-’70s.”
Distressing to see a convict been let off, says hangman
“I remember, there was just an hour to go before his death. I was about to pull the lever to end Koli’s life in September 2015, but he managed to escape my noose owing to a high court order which commuted his death sentence to life imprisonment.” Pawan, a fourth generation hangman, was the one who also sent the four convicts in the Nirbhaya case to the gallows in 2020. Pawan’s great-grandfather, Laxman Ram, who worked for the British, had hanged Bhagat Singh.
His grandfather Kallu had done the same to former PM Indira Gandhi’s assassins. His father Mammu was the state hangman for 47 years till he died on May 19, 2011. Following in his family’s footsteps, Pawan joined as a retainer of the UP directorate of prisons in 2013. The hangman had an “opportunity” to carry out another execution in 2021, when he readied himself to hang for the first time in independent India a woman — Shabnam Ali (38). Shabnam was convicted of killing seven members of her family by slitting their throats with the help of her lover and accomplice, Salim, as her kin didn’t approve of their relationship.
“I was asked to make arrangements to hang Shabnam and Salim in Mathura jail but the death warrant never came. I was told she had not yet exhausted all her legal options to escape the death penalty,” Pawan said. Calling his job as an executioner a “noble profession,” Pawan said, “As a hangman, I remove evil from society. It is my duty and I take immense pride thatmy family has been chosen by providence to end the lives of perpetrators of heinous crimes.” For the family of hangmen, there is no training manual as such. “I used to assist my grandfather which helped me learn the ropes. It’s a technical process. The apparatus has to be perfect at the time of the hanging. The procedure has to be meticulously planned. We should not prolong the agony of the dying person, even if he/she is the worst criminal.”
He added, “So, everything has to be taken care of in terms of the weight of the convict, the strength of the rope and the levers that give way to the section of the platform where the convict stands. Hanging is rare, so the same apparatus often comes into use even after decades.” However, he rues the meagre income he draws. Pawan gets Rs 7,500 monthly as a retainer. “The amount paid is not enough to sustain a family. It must increase now and I must get the status of a government employee with all benefits. After all, I am doing the dirty work,” he said.
Watch Big twist in Nithari case, Allahabad HC acquits Surinder Koli and Pandher

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