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From terror to gallows

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  31 July 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Yakub Memon hanged in gpur, buried quietly in Mumbai

gpur/Mumbai (Maharashtra), July 30: Yakub Abdul Razzak Memon, the lone death row convict in the March 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, was hanged in the gpur Central Jail early Thursday, after a prolonged legal battle that continued till barely a couple of hours before his execution.

The day also saw an unprecedented hearing being held at the Supreme Court at 3 a.m. when the court rejected Memon’s plea seeking postponement of his hanging by 14 days.

Hours later, Memon climbed on the gallows at 6.35 a.m., ironically, on his 54th birthday – and was pronounced dead at 7.01 a.m. by a medical team present there, along with a magistrate, a top prison official and others.

No family member was allowed inside the temporary hanging yard, inside the jail premises where he was made to "hang till death".

Later, the body was sent for an autopsy inside the jail hospital, performed by a team from a nearby government hospital.

Memon was awarded the death pelty by a TADA court for 13 serial blasts that rocked several parts of Mumbai on March 12, 1993, resulting in the death of 257 persons and injury to 713 others.

The brother of "prime conspirator" Tiger Memon, Yakub Memon was allegedly arrested by the CBI from New Delhi Railway Station in August, 1994, though he and his family members disputed the official contentions and claimed he had "surrendered" to the Nepal police on July 28, 1994 in Kathmandu.

Shocked by the execution, Yakub’s brother Sulaiman and a cousin Usman, locked themselves up in a hotel room nearby, avoiding the media which had assembled in huge numbers there.

Memon’s wife Raheen and 21–year daughter Zubeida had also arrived in the city late Wednesday and were at an unknown location.

Around 3.30 a.m., Memon was woken up and permitted to take a bath, offered fresh clothes, breakfast of his choice, as per laid down standard procedures.

He was given facilities to offer ’maz’ and time to read religious books like Holy Quran, and then permitted a brief rest period.

A team of doctors carried out the fil medical examition and found him physically and mentally fit, before he was taken to the temporary ’phaansi yard’ (the hanging area) created in the gpur central jail.

He was hanged at 6.35 am and pronounced dead after 26 minutes at 7.01 hrs.

Initially, the authorities planned to follow the jail manual and declined to hand over Memon’s body to the family.

Later, Sulaiman submitted a letter to the jail demanding that the body should be handed for performing the last rites in Mumbai.

The body was released with stringent pre–conditions and brought to Mumbai where, wrapped in a white shroud and covered under a black cortege, it was taken in an ambulance to the Bismillah Manzil building in Mahim, near his home in Al Husseini building, where family members and relatives had gathered and offered ’maz’.

Accompanied by family members and a large posse of armed police, the body was then taken to the Bada Qabrastan near Marine Lines in south Mumbai and buried with full religious rites next to the graves of his parents.

A massive crowd gathered for Memon’s funeral. A huge media contingent was also present to cover the funeral although because of a police gag order, they were barred from either photographing or videographing the proceedings.

There was tight security all over gpur, Mumbai and sensitive pockets in the state, besides keeping Quick Response Team and anti–riot squads in full readiness. However, any untoward incident was reported from any part.

The legal battle was a long one.

In 2007, Special Judge P.D.Kode of the Special TADA Court in Mumbai had found Memon guilty of crimil conspiracy, aiding and abetting, facilitating a terrorist act, illegal possession and transportation of arms and ammunition and possessing explosives with intent to endanger lives, and awarded him the death sentence.

Thereafter, Memon attempted all legal options from the Bombay High Court to the Supreme Court and Maharashtra governor to the president, but failed to get a reprieve.

The efforts continued till barely a couple of hours before the hanging on Thursday when a three–judge bench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Prafulla Pant and Justice Amitava Roy, rejected a fil plea, clearing the ground for his execution.

Down to the wire Last 24 hours

10.35am (July 29): Three–judge bench of the SC starts hearing Memon’s plea after two judges gave a split order on Tuesday

11am: Memon submits a 14–page mercy petition to President Prab Mukherjee’s office

4pm: SC dismisses Memon’s plea against his death warrant

4pm: Maharashtra governor rejects Memon’s mercy plea

4pm: President sends Memon’s mercy petition to home ministry for advice

8.30pm: Home minister Rajth Singh drives to Rashtrapati Bhawan, conveys government’s decision to reject Memon’s mercy petition

9.15pm: Union home secretary LC Goyal and solicitor general Ranjit Kumar arrive at Rashtrapati Bhawan

10.45pm: President rejects mercy petition of Memon

10.50pm: Senior lawyers Prashant Bhushan and And Grover reach Chief Justice of India Justice HL Dattu’s residence with a fresh petition seeking stay of death warrant for the next 14 days

1am (July 30): Scene shifts to residence of senior SC judge justice Dipak Misra’s residence as senior lawyers Grover and Yug Mohit Chaudhry reach his residence

1.35am: Three judges – justice Misra, justice Pant and justice Roy – agree to meet at the Supreme Court at 2.30am.

2.30am: Judges arrive at the apex court. Hearing deferred over attorney general Mukul Rohtagi’s delay in arrival

3.20am: Hearing on Memon’s plea begins

4.50am: SC rejects Memon’s plea for a stay on the death warrant

5.30am: Memon is provided information as to why he is being hanged by a magistrate in the jail

7am: Memon hanged at gpur jail in Maharashtra around 7am. A medical team pronounced him dead a short while later.

9.30am: After doing all formalities by 9.30 am, Yakub’s elder brother, Suleiman and cousin, Usman Memon take the custody of the body and leave for the gpur airport by 9.45 am. The body would be taken to Mumbai for burial by a service flight

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