'Death Penalty Removes Evidence of Crime, No Cure for Justice': Ex-Tihar Jailer Who Hanged Afzal Guru


New Delhi: For someone who has executed eight of the 35 hangings that have taken place in Tihar jail (the highest till date) in his 35-year career, Sunil Gupta is a bit of an oddball.

“I have witnessed hangings since 1982. The last person was Afzal Guru. But, I don’t support the idea of a death sentence,” he told News18, ahead of the scheduled hanging of the four convicts of the 2012 Delhi gang rape case.

On January 7, a Delhi court issued death warrants to all the four convicts who had brutally gang-raped a 23-year-old para-medical student and threw her out of a moving bus on the night of December 16, 2012.

Following the order, Mukesh Singh, one of the four convicts had filed a mercy petition which was rejected by the President of India on Friday. The hanging is likely to take place on February 1 at 6am.

This will be the first time that Tihar jail will see hanging of all four convicts at once.

According to Gupta, who last carried out the death sentence of the 2001 Parliament attack mastermind in 2013, death penalties do not help correct the “crime or the criminal.”

He said that much like a murder, “death penalty removes evidence of a crime done”, and does not help in the convict’s correction.

“Our correction philosophy revolves around the theory of reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners. Hanging someone is no solution to stop any type of crime. In fact, this aggravates the happening of more heinous crimes,” he said.

For instance, the former Tihar jailer highlighting the psychology of crime and criminals, noted that if death sentence is the ultimate of all punishments, then a person raping a woman may opt to kill her to remove the evidence. “This is no cure for full and fair justice,” he added.