Two Indian sisters on death row for murdering 5 kids …

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MUMBAI: Two Indian women on death row for murdering five children have lodged a last-ditch appeal after the President rejected their mercy plea, clearing the way for them to become the first women executed in post-Independence India.

Renuka Shinde and her stepsister Seema Gavit were convicted in 2001 of kidnapping 13 children, forcing them to join a gang of thieves and murdering at least five of them.

They were reportedly recruited into a life of petty crime as teenagers by their late mother, and used the children to distract their victims while the sisters robbed them.

Shinde, 45, and Gavit, 39, were found guilty of kidnapping the 13 children in Maharashtra. They were initially accused of murdering nine of their victims, but prosecutors were only able to prove that they killed five.

The Supreme Court upheld their sentence in 2006 and last month President Pranab Mukherjee, who has the power to commute a death sentence, rejected their appeal.

“There has been an inordinate delay in carrying out the death sentence. So I will pray to the courts to commute the same into life behind bars,” said Sudeep Jaiswal, who has represented the two sisters since 2010.

In a landmark ruling this year, the Supreme Court said “inordinate and inexplicable” delays in carrying out executions were grounds for commuting death sentences.

Indian courts use the principle of “rarest of rare case” to classify the crime before pronouncing the death sentence.

Their sentences must be confirmed by the Supreme Court.

The last person to be executed in India was Afzal Guru for the deadly 2001 attack on Parliament in New Delhi.

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