Meerut: With folded hands, Pawan Jallad thanks God for being tasked by UP jail administration for executing the death sentence of all four convicts of Nirbhaya rape and murder case.
"I am almost broke. If I hang all these four convicts (in Tihar), I will be awarded Rs 1 lakh by the government... I need this money for my daughter's marriage," says Pawan Jallad, 57, adding: "For months I have been waiting for this opportunity...Bhagwan ne meri sun hi li (God finally heard my prayers)."
In a one room set house allotted to him by the Meerut administration under the Kanshiram Awas Yojna, the hangman reveals that UP jail officials have alerted him not to move out of the district.
"I am preparing myself for 22 (January). They (officials) have told me, in any of these coming days, maybe, by the day after tomorrow or so, they would take me from here to Tihar. I have to reach much earlier as we have to do a lot of rehearsals to ensure everything goes smoothly on the day of hanging," said Pawan, the fourth generation Jallad of the Laxman Kumar family in Meerut's Bhumiyapull area.
Even before any questions are asked to him, he recounts his poor financial condition. "The UP jail administration pays me only Rs 5,000 (per month). I have no other source of earning. Sirf fansi se jeevan chal sakta hai (only by executing the death penalty can I earn my living)," Pawan told IANS.
"My daughter is grown up. But I have no money to marry her off. My ancestral house is in dilapidated condition but I have no funds for repairs. I am already in debt and hounded by lenders. Believe me, this money (Rs 1 lakh) gives me a new lease of life."
Asked about the payment by the government for hanging the convicts of Nirbhaya case, Pawan Jallad explains: "For every execution, a hangman gets Rs 25,000. As there are four death row convicts (in Nirbhaya case) so I would get Rs 1 lakh. It's a big reward. Earlier my grandfather Kaluram (aka Kallu) used to be paid only Rs 200 per hanging. I remember in 1989, I went to Agra Central Jail to execute the death row convict of a rape and murder case. I tied the feet of the convict while my grandfather pulled the rope. We got only Rs 200 for this execution."
Pawan's father Mammu Jallad was also a well-known hangman in north India, he claims.
He says that his father and grandfather executed the hanging of Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh, convicted in assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and also recalls names of several other infamous death row convicts whose hanging was executed by Kallu or Mammu.
Pawan also clarified that the common perception about hangmen being alcoholics is wrong. "Believe me, I have never taken alcohol. I do not drink though people say that before executing any hanging we first get drunk. It's a lie. We are sober and restrained when we pull the ropes. It's our job," he said.