Our Bureau New Delhi

With President Pratibha Patil yet to give her nod to the Home Ministrys recommendation for hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, the Tihar Jail authorities here are frenetically hunting for a hangman

for putting to gallows Khalistani terrorist Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar sent to death row by her rejecting his mercy petition.

The Tihar Jails do not have any hangman now as the last hanging in the jail took place 22 years ago in 1989 when Indira Gandhis assassins Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh were executed.

‘We will have to get the hangman from outside, a tedious task since there are only few hangmen left in India,’a jail official said.

Pointing out that attempts are on to locate Kallu and Fakira who executed the Indira killers, the official said: ‘They could not be located so far and if I am not wrong, Fakira is dead.’Though the jail has not yet got the ‘black warrant’from the district and sessions judge for hanging Bhullar, the authorities are trying to set into motion the drill for such executions as they do not know when yet another execution of Afzal Guru is cleared.

Bhullar, who was sentenced to death for an explosion in 1993 targeting then Youth Congress president Maninderjit Singh Bitta, has slipped into depression and is lodged in the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences ( IHBAS) for psychiatric treatment.

Pending receipt of his death warrant that is required in the run- up to the actual hanging, the jail authorities are reading about procedures and rules as there is nobody in the present staff who may have any experience in this regard.

Only after the death warrant is received that the jail will buy a rope and it will be tested for at least one week by the concerned jail superintendent by conducting mock hangings to ensure the actual execution is done smoothly. The rule book requires a new rope acquired and tested for each hanging, the officials said.

We will have to get the hangman from outside, a tedious task since there are only few hangmen left in India.’jail official

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