The Amnesty International, the world's human rights watch body, has slammed the Centre's decision to allow execution of two prisoners - Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar and Mahendra Nath Das.

Referring to reports on President Pratibha Patil's decision to reject the mercy petitions of the two condemned prisoners, accepting the recommendations of the Union Home Ministry, Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific Director Sam Zarifi said in a statement on Friday: "reports that India will execute two men after an encouraging seven-year hiatus are hugely disappointing, and would be a step backwards for human rights in the country."

"For India to revive capital punishment now would also be bucking the global trend towards abolition of the death penalty, with numbers of executions continuing to decline".

India's decision to approve the country's first executions since 2004 would be a blow to human rights, he added.

Bhullar was sentenced to death in 2001 for plotting terror attacks that killed nine people in Delhi in 1993. Das has been on death row since 1997 for committing a murder in Guwahati, Assam in 1996.

Although India voted against the resolution for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007, 2008 and 2010, President Patil had commuted the death sentences of 20 prisoners since November 2009, an Amnesty report claimed.

The last execution in India was carried out in Kolkata jail in August 2004 when one Dhananjoy Chatterjee was hanged for raping and killing a school girl.