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Curious crowds gather outside Alipore jail
August 14, 2004 02:01 IST
A large crowd had gathered in front of Alipore Central Jail in Kolkata, where Dhananjoy Chatterjee is lodged, to have a glimpse of the last-minute preparations for his execution by hanging.
The high walls of the jail kept the proceedings out of the glare of the curious, but that did not prevent them from gathering in front of the jail gate to watch the flurry of activities involving security personnel, including Additional Commissioner of Police (III) Goutam Mohan Chakraborty.
A posse of policemen, including Rapid Action Force personnel, had a tough time controlling the crowd that spilled on to Judges Court Road in front of the jail, often blocking traffic.
Under the dull monsoon sky and occasional drizzles, strains of bhajans sung by Anup Jalota wafted from inside the jail premises.
Earlier in the day, the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) organised a procession through Judges Court Road to demand abolition of the death sentence. Police initially stopped the procession some distance from the jail but later allowed it to move on.
Outside the jail gate, opinions remained divided.
"He should be hanged. This will drive home a message to others like him that crime doesn't pay," said Sanajit Sinha, who had stopped at the jail gate to catch up on the latest development.
Another curious onlooker, who requested not to be named, also said the death penalty for Chatterjee was justified.
Street-painter Ramzan, however, differed. "You cannot correct one loss of life by taking another," he said, leaning against an old brick wall a little distance from the jail gate.
Even as he spoke, Ramzan sketched Chatterjee's face on the wall and then, as an afterthought, framed it with the image of a noose, perhaps to drive home his point.
"You have done nothing for him. Only earned money. Now leave," one of the angry villagers told reporters. He was soon joined by some other villagers.
"Look at Dhananjoy's mother. She is lying in the Kali temple in a semi-conscious state," another one said adding, "Please do not add insult to injury."
This village in Bankura district has become a regular beat of newspersons since Dhananjoy's case was revived earlier this year.
More reports from West Bengal