4 Veerappan men set to be hanged

Nine years after the Supreme Court awarded them the death sentence in 2004, four associates of dreaded brigand Veerappan on death row — Gnanprakasham, Simon, Meesekar Madaiah and Bilavendran — are now headed for the gallows after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected their mercy petitions earlier this week.
Convicted for killing 22 policemen and forest personnel from Tamil Nadu in a landmine blast at Palar, Karnataka, in 1993, Veerappan’s men could face the gallows by the end of February at Belgaum’s high-security Hindalga jail, prison officials said.
“We have already conducted several dry runs on the gallows,” an official said. The gallows had last been used for a hanging in 1983.
The Karnataka government received a communication from the Union home ministry that the four convicts’ mercy petition had been rejected by the President two days ago, official sources said. The execution dates will be decided by the Mysore sessions court that convicted the men, a senior jail official said. “They may not be executed simultaneously”, he said, adding it may be staggered over four days.

Gulzar cuts short visit to Pakistan
Lahore, Feb. 13: Bollywood poet and lyricist Gulzar on Wednesday abruptly cut short a visit to Pakistan and returned home, with filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj, who accompanied him, saying it was a personal decision and not for security or political reasons.
Indian high commission officials in Islamabad dismissed Pakistani reports that Gulzar was advised to return for security reasons.
Bhardwaj said Gulzar was emotionally overcome after visiting his ancestral village of Kalra, near Deena in Punjab, and decided to return.
He was due to attend the Karachi Literature Festival. — PTI


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The Air India plane at Heathrow was on time and boarding had begun. As per my boarding pass I had occupied my seat in business class. The stewardess had served a welcome drink.