INDIA: SEARCH FOR HANGMAN DELAYS EXECUTIONS
May 31, 2011: India's first executions in seven years are likely be delayed because authorities are unable to find a hangman, officials said.
President Pratibha Patil last week rejected mercy petitions from two men, clearing the way for the country's first hangings since 2004.
But prison authorities are unprepared due to the lack of executioners.
'The hangman is not available. Prison authorities have requested other states [to supply one] but we have not got a positive response so far,' Jorhat jail superintendent Paresh Chandra Koch said.
'Until we find a hangman, the execution would be delayed.'
Mahendra Nath Das has been on death row since 1997 for committing a murder in the north-eastern state of Assam.
Sikh militant Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar was sentenced to death in 2001 for his role in a bombing in Delhi in 1993 that left nine people dead.
Das is in jail in Assam's Jorhat city but since the state does not employ a hangman, there is no date fixed for his execution.
In New Delhi's high-security Tihar jail, authorities are also yet to set a date for hanging Bhullar. 'Yes, it is hard to find a hangman,' Tihar's law officer Sunil Gupta said. 'But we will find someone.' (Sources: DPA, 31/05/2011)