| Purnima, Dhananjoy Chatterjee’s wife, at a dharna in Calcutta in June to press for the commutation of her husband’s death sentence. Picture by Amit Datta
He has been away from home for 14 years of his life and he will not return even in death, for Dhananjoy Chatterjee’s family has refused to receive his body after he is hanged at daybreak on August 14.
With Dhananjoy’s family declining to claim the body, the government on Thursday decided that it would cremate the rapist-killer.
A notice had been sent by the government to Dhananjoy’s home at Kuludih, in Bankura’s Chhatna block.
Borne by Chhatna’s block development officer R.P. Dutta, it stated that Dhananjoy would be hanged at dawn on August 14 and sought to know who would be present at the prison on behalf of the family to receive the body.
The Chatterjees, however, refused to accept the notice, state home department officials said on Thursday. According to them, the official team then planned to put the notice on the wall.
“But they did not get the two witnesses required, as per official norms, to even put up the notice,” an official said.
The Chatterjees’ neighbours were in no mood to cooperate with the team, either. “We have information that the neighbours advised Dhananjoy’s family not to accept the notice,” the official stated.
The official team was then forced to put the notice up on the wall without any witness.
The incident was reported to Vivek Kumar, district magistrate, South 24-Parganas, by his counterpart in Bankura, G.A. Khan, on Thursday.
Later, after several high-level meetings, it was decided that the state government would organise the cremation of Dhananjoy’s body.
Thursday saw hectic official activity as the planning for the August 14 hanging entered its last lap.
It was decided that the district magistrate would be represented by S.S. Bhattacharya, deputy magistrate, on Saturday. Officials said Bhattacharya would give the final signal to hangman Nata Mullick to carry out the execution.
Apart from Bhattacharya, a team of officials would also be witness to the hanging. Uma Prasanna Ghosal, district additional chief medical officer of health (medical-legal), will conduct medical check-ups on Dhananjoy just before and after the execution.
Ranjit Mondal, superintendent of Alipore Central jail, will supervise the entire process. After the hanging, Dhananjoy’s body will be sent for post-mortem and then, later in the day, cremated under strict security, sources said.
“We have taken all necessary steps to implement the government’s directives. We hope there are no flaws,” said Alipore Central jail superintendent Mondal.
Security has been beefed up on the prison premises for the hanging. “The security personnel at Alipore Central are being changed every four hours,” said a prison official, adding that this would continue till the hanging was carried out and the body cremated.