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The Rediff Special/M Chhaya in Kolkata

Hangman keeps noose under wraps

August 04, 2004

It was from a neighbour that Nata Mallick heard the news.

"The television channels are saying Presidentsahib has ordered the hanging," he says.

But Mallick is not knotting the noose just yet. Neither is he bringing out his ropes, soap and ripe bananas.

"I will wait for the government to tell me what is happening," says the 82-old hangman.

Mallick is the man the authorities will turn to when they decide on the date of Dhananjoy Chatterjee's execution.

Chatterjee's plea for clemency was turned down by President A P J Abdul Kalam on Wednesday.

He was convicted of the rape and murder of 14-year-old Hetal Parekh in Kolkata in 1990.

A lower court in Kolkata sentenced him to death in 1992, a verdict upheld subsequently by the higher courts, including the Supreme Court.

But Chatterjee continued to win a reprieve, appealing to the West Bengal governor and twice to the President.

This, however, seems to be the end of the road for Chatterjee, now 39.

The West Bengal government says it has yet to get a copy of the President's note rejecting Chatterjee's appeal.

"We will revive the execution process once we get the documents from New Delhi," says a state law ministry official.

Mallick too wants to wait because he says he has been "fooled" once.

He felt denied when despite all his preparations Chatterjee's execution was called off just hours before the June 25 execution.

"I was ready on June 24 having carried out trials and briefed by my helpers. The government car was to have picked us up the next day, but then we heard that the hanging was off," Mallick told at his south Kolkata home.

A trial means testing the strength of the woodwork from which the convict is to be hanged and checking the footboard.

Mallick, who will be helped by his son and grandson, carried out four trials with sandbags. He waxed the noose made from special ropes, applied soap and ripe bananas to make it slide smoothly on the convict's neck.

All of that went in vain. Now the process has to be repeated.

At least 20 days has to lapse between the rejection of a plea for clemency and the execution.

Mallick says that is enough time for him to get things in place.

Dhananjoy Chatterjee will be the 25th person Mallick has hanged in his career.

The Rediff Specials

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Number of User Comments: 46

Sub: Death Sentence

At last, after a small gap!!!! of 14 years the punishment is executed. It is very barbaric to kill anyone for his/her crime. No one ...

Posted by vijayakumar

Sub: Capital Punishment.

Dear readers, I would like to convey my message that, in India capital punishment is never awarded properly. It is just a poor man's case ...

Posted by Bob Michael Turner

Sub: hang

i feel india is very,very poor in the matter of law and order .it's such a shame when any crime matters to settle down takes ...

Posted by amitha

Sub: Hanging of Dhanonjoy

When so many sinners are freely moving around us without any punishment, what is the idea behind giving capital punishment to a fellow who has ...

Posted by Dr sudha

Sub: hang

I strongly feel dhananjoy"s death peanulty might relive the victim's family for an year .what about dhananjoy's family. how will the sc or the president ...

Posted by shreepal


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