Death Convict Shabnam urges her son to focus on his studies

Umamageswari Maruthappan

Shabnam Ali, a death row convict, met her 12-year old son who visited her in Rampur Jail on 21st February 2021. My mother asked me to focus on my studies,” said the son who is earnestly requesting President Ram Nath Kovind to accept his mother’s mercy petition. Earlier, on 18th February 2021 too, he had appealed before the President.

The convict, Shabnam was accused of killing her seven family members, father Shaukat Ali, mother Hashmi, elder brother Anees, Anees’s wife Anjum, younger brother Rashid, cousin Rabia, and Arsh, Anees’s 10-month-old son in 2008. She was alleged to have committed this crime following the family’s opposition to her love affair with Salim.

Salim, who is just a Class VI drop out, had fallen in love with Shabnam, a well-educated and Government school teacher. Their love was not accepted by Shabnam’s family because of which Shabnam and Salim together decided to commit this heinous act. Shabnam was pregnant at that time.

Shabnam pleaded that she is wrongfully convicted of this crime and that it was only Salim who had killed her family member. Rejecting her plea, the Amroha Sessions Court passed a death sentence against both the accused in 2010.

Amroha Court’s judgement was challenged before the Allahabad High Court and later before the Supreme Court. However, the High Court rejected the appeal in 2013 while the Apex Court upheld the death sentence in 2015.

Following the rejections, the convict appealed before the Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Ram Naik who rejected the mercy petition in September 2015 and later President Pranab Mukherjee rejected the same in August 2016.

Finally, in January 2020, the Apex Court rejected the review petition and upheld the death sentence of Shabnam. Shabnam is reportedly said to be hanged in the Mathura Jail which is the only jail authorized to hang a woman convict. If executed, Shabnam would be the first woman to be hanged for a crime in Independent India.

Shabnam gave birth to a son in 2008. The boy is currently under the guardianship of Usman who is a friend of Shabnam.