Beyond the News - FACT Analysis

Shabnam Ali: First woman in India after Independence to be hanged to death

Dolly Chopra
A teacher by profession, Uttar Pradesh’s Shabnam Ali, who has done double MA (English and Geography) and taught at the village primary school did the brutal murder of her own family. The incident dates back to 2008, when Shabnam along with her lover Saleem, had axed to death seven of her family members on the intervening night of April 14/15. Shabnam used to live with her family in Amroha. Shabnam and Saleem were having an affair and wanted to get married. However, Shabnam’s family was opposed to their marriage so the duo planned the brutal murder. She was arrested on April 19, 2008, five days after the sensational murders, along with her lover Salim. She was seven weeks pregnant when she was arrested. She delivered a baby in December 2008. She has a double MA (English and Geography) and taught at the village primary school. Salim is a Class VI dropout who worked at a wood sawing unit outside Shabnam’s home.
During the investigation, it was found that Shabnam had abetted Saleem in the crime as she made her family members drink milk laced with sedatives before hacking them to death. She didn’t even spare her little nephew who was strangulated to death. On the day of judgment, the court heard the statements of as many as 29 witnesses. The 160-page order was passed after all witnesses were asked to answer 649 questions related to the case.  
The first woman to be hanged to death in India?
In the Amroha murder case, she will be the first Indian woman who will be hanged to death after India’s independence. The Mathura Jail administration has already started preparations to hang this Uttar Pradesh resident who was found guilty of murdering seven members of her family. But the death warrant, about the date and time of hanging, has not been issued by Amroha court yet.  
Mathura Prison
  Authorities at the Mathura prison, however, are already preparing for the execution. Meerut’s hangman Pawan Jallad, who also carried out the execution of the 2012 Delhi gangrape and murder case convicts, has been asked to put Shabnam to the gallows. The hangman has already inspected Uttar Pradesh’s only female execution centre situated in Mathura. It has been reported that the Mathura Jail administration has also ordered the rope used for hanging death row convicts. The Mathura prison, built-in 1870, is the only one in India with an execution room for women. The only mention of this room in India can be found in the UP Jail Manual, 1956, which lays down rules for hanging women on death row, while also stating that only women can be hanged here. However, the execution rooms for both men and women remain similar.