Friends hang Bengal boy in mock execution

None | ByIndo-Asian News Service, Kolkata
Aug 20, 2004 05:04 PM IST

A 12-year-old boy in West Bengal was hanged by his friends as they tried playacting execution of Dhananjoy. Luckily, he survived.

A 12-year-old boy in West Bengal was hanged by his friends as they tried playacting last week's execution of a convict -- luckily, he survived.

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The hanging of rapist-murderer Dhananjoy Chatterjee last week here had its effect on a group of boys in Kalabagan village in Bankura district, some 200 km west of the state capital.

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Chatterjee's hanging made the headlines for days in newspapers and television channels, which gave out supposedly minute details of his activities in his last days. He was hanged Aug 14.

On Tuesday, the boys, aged 8-12 years, decided to playact the execution of Chatterjee, who also hailed from Bankura district.

Twelve-year-old Sheikh Aslam Khan, reportedly a dim wit, was chosen to be the 'convict'. Among the friends, Sabir Ali Khan, 10, was chosen to be the 'hangman' because he was of a better built than the rest.

To lend authenticity to the act, there was a 'doctor' and a 'police officer' to drop the handkerchief to signal the execution.

The boys decided that there should be a gallows -- and went about building a structure of bamboo in a jungle on the outskirts of the village so that nobody would disturb their game. A noose was made from a soft towel.

Taking care of the smallest of details, the boys asked Sabir his last wish. He said he wanted some chocolates. The boys pooled money and bought him some candies.

They also plucked chickpeas and cucumber from the fields and fed him a last meal. Before going to the gallows, Aslam was bathed in a pond. As there was no change of clothes, he went to be executed in his drenched shirt and shorts.

Then, the 'hanging' took place. Sabir lifted Aslam on his shoulder. Aslam put the noose around his neck. The 'hangman' then threw Aslam off his shoulder.

The 'hanged' boy writhed in pain and his limbs twisted. After a while, his tongue dropped out of the corner of his mouth.

The sight panicked the boys, and Sabir again lifted Aslam on his shoulder. Aslam was then brought down. The boys tried to revive him by splashing water on his face.

One of them ran to inform Aslam's family. The boy was taken home. His mother, Moslejan Bibi, told reporters Thursday that her son was yet to recover from the 'hanging'.

"He still feels severe pain in his throat and stomach. He can't eat. He can't go to school. A doctor is treating him," Bibi said.

Police came to know of the incident on Thursday. Bankura police chief Anil Kumar confirmed the attempted hanging.

Sabir's family is missing from the village. Their families were also guarding the other boys.

One of the boys, Sheikh Alimuddin, who played the 'doctor' who was supposed to pronounce Sabir dead, said they had gathered information on the hanging after hearing their parents and other villagers discuss Dhananjoy's death.

The village has only one television. Newspapers are the villagers' window to the world.

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