|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Dhananjoy Chatterjee takes comfort in bhajans
August 14, 2004 00:38 IST
Last Updated: August 14, 2004 10:52 IST
As the high-security Alipore Central Jail got ready for the hanging of Dhananjoy Chatterjee, the jail was filled with the strains of bhajans (hymns).
The 42-year old convict, sentenced to death for the rape and murder of 14-year-old schoolgirl Hetal Parekh in 1990, would be hanged at 4:30am on Saturday.
Hangman Nata Mullick, who was taken to the jail on Thursday evening, on Friday carried out a mock hanging to ensure that everything goes as per plan, Jail Minister Biswanath Choudhury said.
Mullick used a 75-kg sandbag, approximately one and half times the body weight of the convict, during the mock trial.
He and his son Mahadeb carried out a complete rehearsal of the entire process and finalised every details like which direction the convict would face at the gallows and how his legs and hands would be tied.
"Dhananjoy had his lunch and seemed to be calm 12 hours before his scheduled hanging," the minister said. A crowd had gathered outside the jail.
Dhananjoy, son of a priest in a Bankura village is a believer in the 'shakti cult'. He used to conduct Kali puja inside his cell and engaged himself in meditation during the past few days.
He also read aloud excerpts from the Gita in his 10ftx8ft cell, jail sources said.
After managing to stave off the hangman's noose for 13 years since he was first handed out the death sentence by a sessions court, Dhananjoy finally lost the battle when President A P J Abdul Kalam rejected his plea for mercy.
According to jail sources, he then sought three postcards to write his 'last letters' to father Bangsidar and wife Poornima.
Meanwhile, a security cordon has been thrown around the jail to prevent any untoward incident as a few human rights organisations plan to take out a procession against capital punishment.
Dhananjoy's family in Bankura district has also been put under strict security following their earlier threat to commit mass suicide if he was hanged.
His hanging, the first in the state since 1993, has already triggered a nationwide debate over the continuation of capital punishment.
Meanwhile, in a last-ditch effort, Dhananjoy's mother and his wife on Friday sent a fresh mercy appeal to the President, brother Bikash Chatterjee said at his native village.
The family, however, seems resigned to their fate, confining themselves to their home at their native village, refusing to speak to anybody.
The family also refused to accept the official communication about the rejection of the second mercy plea by the President on August 4, which was to be handed over to Chatterjee's wife, Poornima.
The district authorities had to paste the communication at the gate of her house, district Superintendent of Police Anil Kumar said.
More reports from West Bengal