Lucknow: Death row convict files fresh mercy plea before Governor

The jail administration had sought a death warrant against Shabnam after the Supreme Court rejected her review petition in January last year.

A 35-year-old death row convict has filed a fresh mercy petition, months after the Rampur jail administration sent a letter to the district court in Amroha seeking a death warrant against her.

The jail administration had sought a death warrant against Shabnam after the Supreme Court rejected her review petition in January last year.

The death sentences of Shabnam, who was teacher in the Amroha district, and her lover Saleem were upheld by the Supreme Court in May 2015 for killing seven members of her family, including her 10-month-old nephew.

Shabnam is lodged at Rampur district jail after she was transferred from Moradabad in July, 2019.

Rampur District Jail Superintendent P D Salonia said, “I got Shabnam’s mercy petition, which is addressed to Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel. I will send the mercy petition to UP government’s Home Department, which will forward it to the Governor. I got the petition from Shabnam’s lawyer who had visited the jail yesterday.”

Salonia added, “Last year, after obtaining the Supreme Court judgment rejecting Shabnam’s review petition, I sent a letter to Amroha court seeking a direction in the matter. I sent another petition to Amroha court through a special messenger last month, seeking a death warrant against Shabnam. In the petition, I mentioned that Shabnam’s review petition was rejected in January last year.”

Sources said the Prison Department is preparing Shabnam’s case details, which will be sent to the Amroha court. The case details comprise all court judgments and other proceedings, including mercy petitions.

In 2015, Shabnam had sent two separate mercy petitions to the President of India and then Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik. In 2016, the then UP Governor Naik had rejected her mercy petition.

Holding degrees of double MA in English and geography, Shabnam used to teach at the village primary school. She had sought pardon on the grounds that she has responsibilities towards her son Taj, who was born inside the jail and was at the time staying with her, said a jail official. She also claimed to be innocent and stated that his family was killed over property dispute, he added.

In August 2015, Taj was handed over to Shabnam’s friend Usman Saifi for foster care – the jail manual mandates that women inmates cannot keep children after they turn six. A photograph is doing the rounds on social media, in which Taj is seen holding a board, seeking pardon for his mother from the President.

Saleem is lodged in Prayagraj’s Naini jail and his mercy petition is pending with the President of India, said a jail official.

Shabnam and Saleem were arrested on April 19, 2008 – four days after they killed Shabnam’s father Shaukat Ali (55), mother Hashmi (50), elder brother Anees (35), Anees’s wife Anjum (25), younger brother Rashid (22), cousin Rabia (14), and 10-month-old son of Anjum and Anees.

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