Confession of a killer of two innocent children
Posted November 24, 2016on:
I was a rookie reporter in Delhi. A friend asked me to visit a convict in Tihar Jail waiting for the noose any day in the next week or two for having burnt to death two innocent children in their sleep. He had exhausted all avenues of appeal.
I had followed in the newspapers the progress of the case in courts. He was a government employee and lived in a basti off Karol Bagh. His wife developed intimacy with a neighbour. When he came to know of it, he planned the revenge. One summer night when his wife’s paramour and his two children were sleeping on cots outside their house, he threw some inflammable substance on the two children and set them afire. The crime had rocked Delhi of the late 60s. The people were so outraged that they wanted him hanged immediately.
After his last appeal was rejected, he was put on death row in Tihar. Only family members were allowed to see him on a few days in a week. My friend, being his old family friend, accompanied his wife and two children as a member of the family on every visit.
I was loath to meet the perpetrator of such a horrendous crime. However, I did not say this to my friend but only said that my meeting him would not serve any purpose as I would not be able to write anything at this stage and, even otherwise, no amount of writings would help him now.
My friend said that it was not for writing, that the convict only wanted to confess his crime before someone and that my friend considered me as the only person among his acquaintances who had the patience to listen to him. Though reluctantly, I agreed to become another member of the family on the next scheduled visit.
The convict sat behind the grille in his cell – haggard, with sunken eyes and scraggly overgrown beard, looking more like a cadaver than a living person, staring blankly outside through the grille. When we approached, he glanced at us without displaying any reaction and returned to vacantly looking outside. However, when my friend introduced me and told him that I had come to hear his confession, a small flicker was seen in his eyes.
We sat on the floor outside the grille – his wife and two children, my friend and I. A prison guard stood a little distance away keeping a bored watch at us.
Some animation returned to his voice and countenance as he started what he insisted on calling his confession. When he learnt about his wife’s affair with the neighbour, he was so enraged that he couldn’t sleep for several nights. Then he planned a revenge. He mixed a chemical in kerosene (he was a chemistry student). This concoction, he said, would stick to the skin and could not be removed till the skin was completely burnt. He had given me the name of the chemical which I do not recall now. His plan, he said, was not even to kill his neighbour but only to burn his private parts.
On that fateful night, he filled the mixture in a small tin box, went to the spot where he found the three asleep on three cots and the alley deserted. He put a match to the mixture and threw it on the private parts of the neighbour. It appeared that the sudden heat on the sensitive part of the body made the neighbour jump and the burning liquid splashed on the children lying on their cot beside of him.
The convict said that he learnt about the death of the children next morning and felt devastated. He, too, loved the children dearly. He didn’t even want to kill the father and harming the children had not even crossed his mind. He had not been able to pardon himself for the death of the children and it lay heavy on his conscience.
I put only one question after he had completed his confession. I said: ‘you denied your involvement in the crime throughout the trial. If you had told the court what you are telling me now, may be the Judge would have been a little lenient while pronouncing the sentence, or, at least, you could have unburdened your conscience. Why didn’t you do that?’
He said that he wanted to, but his lawyer said that doing so would invite sure death sentence while he stood a good chance of acquittal by denying his involvement. Till the last, his lawyer did not agree to his telling the court what had really happened. Now all was over.
He was hanged ten days later.