Meeran Borwankar, who retired on Saturday as Deputy General, Bureau of Police Research and Development, is the first lady IPS officer in the country to witness hangings.
In an interview with the Sunday Express, Meeran told reporters that the hangings of Ajmal Kasab and Yakub Memon were the two most debated assignments of her career spanning 36 years of service to the nation.
Speaking of the difficulties she faced during the hangings, she said the secrecy of Kasab’s hanging was one of the key hurdles faced by the police.
As of the differences between the two hangings, she replied that during Kasab’s hanging, everything was done secretly, while Yakub’s hanging was no private affair as the whole nation was watching them.
Borwankar further said that during Yakub’s hanging, a Hindi film had gone viral, which much resembled the actual hanging, and it was later revealed that the video was fake.
As if the media was not satisfied, she further talked of the very first hanging she witnessed- Kasab’s hanging, and said that all the news over his last wishes was made-up, as there was nothing of the sort. He (Kasab) did not quite understand what was happening and seemed dazed. Meeran, who was the then DIG (prisons), Maharashtra stayed the night of the hanging at the prisons and came in early so that the news does not get leaked.
Recalling the tension surrounding Kasab’s hanging, she revealed how the accused had to be kept secret in Yerawada Jail and the night VIP movement of high ranking officials over the Mumbai-Pune Expressway to maintain the secrecy of the operation, about which Meeran and her team were quite skeptical.
However, one media person did get to know about Kasab’s transfer to the Pune Central Jail, where the hanging was to take place, but he did not know about the hanging and the info did not leak. The rest of the operation went without any further disturbance.
Meeran however, could not stop feeling guilty and could convince herself only at the thought that she was just doing her duty. She also told reporters that her head severely ached after the hanging and did not stop the pain for the next few days. She marked that it was like a stone kept over her head for days, even revealing how people, following the completion of the operation, had asked her if she had fainted inside witnessing the event.
Though she had the option of not being present during the hanging (according to the government’s manual), she considered it a comment and question on her gender and made it there on the event all brave.