Yakub Memon hanged to death after a night long legal battle

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yakub-memonYakub Memon, one of the accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blast case, was hanged to death at the Nagpur central jail at around 6.36 am on 30 July.

The body of Yakub, who was hanged on a day he turned 54 years, will be handed over to his family on the strict condition that it will not be used for protests. Yakub, a chartered accountant, was due to receive his second MA degree that he completed through distance education.

Three of his family members have been allowed to be present during his hanging. Yakub was declared dead by the jail doctor at 7.01am.  His body was sent for an autopsy by a medical team from a Nagpur government hospital.

The authorities are yet to decide whether to hand over Yakub’s body to the family. The family had made an application to jail authorities requesting that Yakub’s remains be handed over to them.

On the D-Day Yakub was woken at 4am, bathed and allowed to say his prayers, before being led to the gallows. The hanging was done by a constable who executed terrorist Ajmal Kasab at Pune’s Yerawada jail in 2012.

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who also holds the charge of the home department, is likely to make an announcement over Yakub’s hanging at 11 am in the Maharashtra assembly.

A special TADA court had found Yakub, brother of prime accused Tiger Memon, guilty of criminal conspiracy, arranging money for buying vehicles and organising air tickets to Dubai for some, during the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, which left 257 dead and 1,000 injured.

Earlier, hours after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected his mercy plea, top lawyers, including the convict’s counsel, gathered at the residence of Chief Justice of India and urged him to an urgent hearing prior to the hanging.

A three-member bench was formed, headed by Justice Dipak Misra, to hear the last minute plea. Scheduled to begin at 2am, the hearing finally got underway at 3.20am and continued for more than one-and-a-half hours.

The defence lawyer sought a 14-day reprieve for Yakub, stating that it was the first mercy plea by him. The previous plea was filed by his brother, he added. Citing Maharashtra prison manual, he said that Yakub should get at least seven days after rejection of his mercy petition.

Finally at around 5am, the three-judge bench pronounced its verdict rejecting Yakub’s last-minute mercy plea.
Meanwhile, the Nagpur police imposed Section 144, which prohibits gathering of more than four people, 500 metres outside the Nagpur jail. The Mumbai police too have secured the city expecting social unrest following Yakub’s hanging. Around 35,000 police personnel are out on the city roads to maintain law and order.

Tempers are already flared up with Shiv Sena calling five Muslim Congress MLAs and two MLCs, who petitioned the President, anti-nationals and moving a breach of privilege notice against them.

In Srinigar, Kashmiri separatist Syed Ali Geelani has said that Yakub was ‘victimised’ because he was a Muslim.

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