Child murderer Ashfaq Alam is 21st convict on death row in Kerala

The last execution in Kerala was carried out 33 years ago in 1991, of serial killer ‘Ripper’ Chandran at the Kannur central jail. He was convicted of killing 14 people.
Ashfaq Alam in police custody
Ashfaq Alam in police custody
Written by:

Bihar native Ashfaq Alam, convict in the rape and murder of a five-year-old migrant girl at Aluva in Ernakulam district, is the second in Kerala to be sentenced to death this year. In March, the Kottayam Additional Sessions Court had sentenced to death Arun Sasi, who was convicted of killing an elderly couple in Kerala‘s Kottayam district. He was awarded the death penalty a decade after the murder, which happened in Pazhayidom in August 2013.

Though there are currently 21 convicts including Ashfaq on the death row in Kerala, officials said that in most cases such a punishment is commuted to a lesser sentence by higher courts. In March, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the Kerala Legislative Assembly that the state has carried out 26 capital punishments after the formation of a state. Though there were executions prior to that, the government doesn’t have data on this. The highest was in 1960 and 1963, when five convicts were executed each year. The first execution in the state was 33 years ago  in 1958, while the last was in 1991 — of serial killer Chandran, known by the moniker ‘Ripper Chandran’ — at the Kannur central jail. He was convicted of the murder of 14 people.

NB Karunakaran, then Superintendent of Kannur prison, had told the media ahead of Chandran’s execution that in his final days, the ‘Ripper’ had confessed to all of his crimes to jailers and had deep regret about it. Chandran was 41 years old at the time. Karunakaran recalled the convict’s last words to be, “I am ready sir.”

All of the 26 executions in Kerala had been held at the Kannur central jail. Besides Kannur, the only other prison in the state to house gallows is the Poojappura central jail in Thiruvananthapuram. As per the law, if a convict receives a ‘black warrant’, they are to be shifted to a separate cell and provided counselling before the execution is carried out.

Ashfaq was awarded capital punishment on Tuesday, November 14, by a special court in Ernakulam dealing with cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. He was found guilty of sexually assaulting and murdering the child by the same court on November 4. He had kidnapped the five-year-old child from her home on July 28 when her parents — both of them migrant labourers from Bihar — were away for work. He was arrested the same night based on CCTV footage that showed him taking the child away. Her body was recovered from an abandoned spot behind the Aluva market the next day.

While imposing capital punishment on Ashfaq, Additional District and Sessions Judge K Soman observed that the crime was the ‘rarest of rare’ cases and Ashfaq did not deserve any leniency for the crime he committed.

Read: Aluva child murder: Govt to introduce creches but experts urge proper planning

Related Stories

No stories found.
The News Minute