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Having the mental strength to be able to pull the lever and hang someone to death is a big deal in itself. Hangmen or ‘Jallads’ are those rare individuals who assist in the final step of delivering justice to a victim of a ‘rarest of rare’ crime in India.

One such individual, Hangman Pawan executed the four Nirbhaya convicts at Tihar Jail today morning. Hailing from Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut, Pawan is the lone “certified” hangman there. Being an officially registered hangman, he receives a monthly salary of 3000 Rupees from the government. However, for the hanging of Nirbhaya Convicts, Pawan has been offered 20,000 Rupees per execution.

After the hanging, the 57-year-old hangman said, “For the first time in my life, I’m happy to execute four convicts. I had been waiting for this day for long. I thank God and the Tihar jail administration.”

Pawan belongs to a lineage of hangmen as both his father as well as his grandfather were in the same business. His grandfather had carried out over 60 hangings in his 40-year-long career, while his father too carried out over 6 executions. Pawan assisted both of them and has been witnessing hangings since he was an adolescent.

“They were proud of what they did and I am proud of helping them. It is a duty. Justice is being done. A criminal is being killed and crime is going to come down in India as a result. That’s why we feel nothing when we kill a man,” he said.

One of the convicts in Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination case was hung by Pawan’s grandfather, while Pawan’s father carried out the hanging of dreaded criminals Ranga and Billa.

Apart from being a hangman, Pawan is a part-time shirt seller and lives in a family of seven. Mentioning that his son doesn’t wish to follow him into the business of hanging, Pawan said, “If he wanted to, I would train him. But he’s studying banking and has just applied for some post working in the accounts department of Indian railways…I think his interests lie elsewhere.”

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