The execution was carried out by 84-year-old
hangman Nata Mullick, assisted by his 21-year-old grandson, Prabhat.
It was the country's first execution since 1995.
''The execution of Dhananjoy's death sentence has
duly been carried out at the scheduled time (4:30 am). His body has been
handed over to Hindu Satkar Samity for cremation as no near relation
turned up for taking his body,'' Inspector General of Police (Prisons)
Joydev Chakraborty told reporters.
Dhananjoy's family did not collect his body for
cremation. None of the family members even attended the execution.
A convoy of police vehicles escorted the ambulance
carrying his body to the crematorium, where the Hindu Satkar Samity, a
local social welfare organisation had arranged for the last rites.
As per the execution procedure, the body was kept
hanging for 30 minutes, before the doctors formally declared Dhananjoy
As per his last wish, Dhananjoy was offered sweets
and curd. He was also given a new shirt and pyjamas, which he wore to
''Dhananjoy behaved normally. He took a bath by
himself inside the cell, offered prayers and walked to the gallows
without any help,'' Chakraborty said.
The IGP said Dhananjoy's wish to donate his eyes
could not be fulfilled because his family's consent was not received.
Dhananjoy had asked for his kidneys and eyes to be
donated after his death.
Dhananjoy, who wrote three letters -- one each to his
father, wife and two former jailmates -- was handed over one from his
wife, Poornima, before his execution.
Dhananjoy was sentenced to death for raping and
murdering Hetal Parekh in her house in Bhowanipore on March 5, 1990.
Human rights organisation Manab Adhikar Surakha Manch
and some students of the Bishop's College held a vigil outside the
Alipore jail, where the execution took place.
At Dhananjoy's home in village Kuludihi, his family
threw stones at jounrnalists trying to speak to them.
It rained heavily in the village all night.
The family heard about Dhananjoy's execution at 6 am
on a little transistor radio. Immediately, loud wails were heard from
As per sources Dhananjoy went calmly to the gallows
on his birthday with a copy of Bhagavad Gita, one of Hinduism's most
According to prison guards Dhananjoy spent a
sleepless night before the execution, and refused food.
In the days leading up to the execution Dhananjoy
listened to Hindu devotional songs in his solitary cell, they said.
Demonstrators lit candles, held anti-death penalty
banners and sang songs outside the prison but left at the scheduled hour
of the execution.
"120 countries abolished death penalty. Why not
India?" said a banner. "Abolish death penalty!" said another.
Some protesters sang folk star Pete Seeger's We Shall
Overcome during their night-long vigil outside the jail. Human rights
activist Sujato Bhadra told the BBC they would begin a "door to door
campaign" to abolish death penalty.
President APJ Abdul Kalam rejected a plea for
clemency last week and the Supreme Court rejected another appeal on
A large police team has been deployed in Dhananjoy's
village, where his family had threatened to commit mass suicide if he
Dhananjoy's lawyers had argued his conviction was
based on circumstantial evidence and that DNA testing was not carried
out. Most people in West Bengal support the death penalty in this case.
However, some human rights groups said a life
sentence would have been a more appropriate punishment.
The death penalty is rarely carried out in India. It
is usually reserved for particularly gruesome or politically sensitive
The assassins of country's independence leader,
Mahatma Gandhi, and former prime minister, Indira Gandhi, were among
those executed in the past 50 years.
Children die in copycat hangings
Wednesday, 25 August,
At least three children have died while acting out
the recent hanging of an Indian convict, reports say.
Other children are reported to have hurt themselves
in similar incidents.
Dhananjoy Chatterjee, a security guard, was convicted
for the 1990 rape and murder of a school girl who lived in the building
where he worked.
His execution in the eastern city of Calcutta on 14
August whipped up a media frenzy with some news outlets covering it in
A 14-year-old boy in the western city of Bombay (Mumbai)
died after he hanged himself by a rope from a ceiling fan at home in an
apparent re-enactment of the execution.
"The boy's father told us Prem was a very bright but
curious kid and kept asking questions about how Dhananjoy would be
hanged," a senior police official told Reuters news agency.
"Dhananjoy was the top news on all TV channels for so
many days and Prem would watch very closely," he said.
The Hindu newspaper reported that another 14-year-old
boy died in the eastern state of West Bengal over the weekend, also
while re-enacting the hanging.
Samiran Tiwari hanged himself with a cycle tube while
his parents were away from home, the newspaper said.
In another incident last week, a 12-year-old girl
died in West Bengal while trying to show her younger brother how
Dhananjoy had been executed.
"I shouldn't have left her home alone especially when
she's been talking about the Dhananjoy hanging all the time," the girl's
father told The Telegraph newspaper after the incident.
Some other children who tried to re-enact the hanging
have been luckier.
Anjan Saha of West Bengal was playing out the
execution with his friends in a primary school when the rope gave away,
The Hindu reported.
Sheikh Aslam Khan, 12, almost choked to death when
his friends "hanged" him from a tree after a mock trial in the same
Khan's friends, according to reports, were playing
the roles of the executioner, doctor and prison warder.
Psychiatrists say such copycat incidents are often
provoked by media overkill, to which children are susceptible.
"Children have a natural curiosity about anything out
of the ordinary," psychiatrist Anjali Chhabria told Reuters.
"Also, several newspapers and TV channels had given
detailed sketches of execution by hanging, making it easier for the kids
Dhananjoy Chatterjee's was the country's first
execution since 1995.
Video grab of Dhananjoy Chatterjee (L)
with wife Purnima (R) at their 1989 wedding.
Source: Hindustan Times.