Balasore, Jan 13 ISarbeshwar Nath): Only one rape and murder convict has been hanged in Odisha since independence This death sentence was executed on July 16, 1994 at Berhampur Jail, said former Jail Superintendent Ramachandra Nayak.
Laxman Naik of Mayurbhanj district was hanged for raping his minor niece in inebriated condition and killing her. He had challenged the death sentence awarded by Mayurbhanj district judge court in 1990 at the Orissa High Court and Supreme Court, But his plea was rejected by both the courts. Finally, he had applied before the President of India for reprieve. However, his petition was rejected, paving the way for his execution.
Ramachandra Nayak, who was the Superintendent of Berhampur jail at the time of hanging, recalled that Laxman was hanged on July 16, 1994 in Berhampur Jail.
Strict vigil is maintained on the convict following award of death sentence. He is kept in a special cell to ensure that his mental condition does not go out of order and he does not commit suicide. Laxman was kept under tight security cover, recalled the then Jail Superintendent Ramachandra Nayak.
Laxman had broken down after hearing his death sentence. When the jail administration wanted to know his last wish, he wished to meet his family members. Though his family members met him, they expressed their unwillingness to take his body. As the family members did not take his body to home, it was cremated in the jail premises as per prison rules, he said.
As per jail rules, the death sentence awarded is woke up an hour before his hanging and is hanged before all other prisoners rise from bed. A black cloth is covered over his face till he is brought near the gallows. This is done lest the death sentence awardee might lose mental balance seeing the place of his hanging and the materials used for the execution, said Nayak.