For the first time since Independence, India sets to execute a woman: What's the case of Shabnam Ali?

For the first time since Independence, India is set to witness a woman walking towards gallows as the country will be penning a history by executing the first woman prisoner for committing a horrendous crime thirteen years ago. The state of Uttar Pradesh will be executing the woman on the gallows that wasn't used for the past 150 years. 

Shabnam Ali, a native of Amroha district in Uttar Pradesh, was convicted for brutally murdering seven members of her family. The crime had happened in 2008, which shook the nation, and Shabnam was convicted along with Salim, with whom the former had a love affair, for his role in the murder. She had moved her mercy petitions and appeals to the President and the Supreme Court which were eventually dismissed. 

Who is Shabnam Ali? She was the only daughter of Shaukat Ali and her family had more wealth including a lot of lands. Shabnam had done Master's in English and Geography and she was a teacher in Bawankhedi village in the Hasanpur area of Amroha district. While she was working as a teacher, Shabnam had developed a love affair with Salim, who was a school dropout and was a laborer by profession. 

However, Shabnam's family had intensely objected to her relationship with Salim. Her family members were unhappy with the relationship and amid their dissent, the reports say that Shabnam became pregnant which further shocked her family members. When they strictly opposed her relationship, Shabnam had decided to kill all of them.

Shabnam and Salim had drawn a plot to kill the family members. According to reports, Shabnam had reportedly mixed sedative drug in the milk and served it to the family members. After they went unconscious, Shabnam had murdered seven family members by using an ax by slitting their throats. The victims include her parents, her siblings, and a 10-year-old son of one of her siblings. Salim also had a role in the heinous crime. 

After committing the murder, Shabnam started crying and screaming, and when her neighbors arrived there, they were shocked to see seven dead bodies inundated by blood. The crime went to the attention of the local police following which the probe was launched. During the probe, Shabnam tried to conceal the crime and said that the robbers had entered her house and killed the entire family. She claimed that she was survived as she was in the bathroom. 

However, the police developed suspicion on Shabnam after the autopsy reports and the police had gathered her call details in which they found out that she had spoken to the same number several times on the night of the murder. The police took Shabnam under their custody and interrogated her following which she confessed that she had murdered everyone. The crime happened in 2008 and a court in Uttar Pradesh had pronounced a death sentence to Shabnam and Salim. 

However, Shabnam fought legally by approaching Allahabad High Court and Supreme Court and she even moved her mercy plea to the President. However, all of her legal efforts had gone vain after her petitions were dismissed and the death sentence was confirmed. As she has been given a death sentence, Shabnam Ali will become the first woman to be executed in India since Independence. 

The reports say that the sessions court in Amroha in Uttar Pradesh had sentenced them to death in 2010 and over the past decade, she had approached the judiciary with her appeal. In January last year, her review petition against the death penalty was dismissed by the apex court. She has currently been lodged at Madhura district jail and the jail authorities said that the date of hanging has not been fixed yet, but the preparation for the same has been initiated. 

Shabman will be hanged after the issuance of the death warrant and Pawan Jallad of Meerut, who executed the convicts of the Nirbhaya case, has also inspected the gallows in Madhura and asked the authorities to make some improvements. On Wednesday, the Mathura jail superintendent told a news agency that they had ordered two hanging ropes from Bihar's Buxar Central Jail. However, the legal experts had said that Shabnam still has legal options and she can move another judicial review petition and as her legal options aren't exhausted, she also can file a curative petition. 

It must be noted that the first female hanging house was built in Mathura Jail almost 150 years ago. It was built during British rule and no woman was hanged since Independence and it is the only female hanging house in India. The Mathura jail authorities are preparing to execute the first woman in India and they are awaiting the death warrant. Shabnam Ali, who is now 38, will become the first woman to get executed. Earlier, the Indian courts had pronounced the death sentence to some women including Nalini, the convict in the Rajiv Gandhi case but such sentences were later commuted to life.