The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Children hang friend in play

Bishnupur, Aug. 19: Before dust had settled on the trail after Dhananjoy Chatterjee’s hanging last Saturday, a group of children at a village near here hanged a friend from a tree after a mock trial and nearly killed him.

Four children aged between 10 and 12 who went to graze cattle and goats on the outskirts of Kalabagan village, 170 km from Calcutta, on Tuesday, decided to play out the hanging.

Twelve-year-old Sheikh Aslam Khan was made Dhananjoy and Sabir Ali Khan, a Class-IV student, played hangman Nata Mullick. Aftar Ali Dalala was inspector-general, prison, Joydeb Chakraborty and Mohammed Hussain the judge.

The sentence that made headlines and the topic of heated debates, especially in Bankura district where Dhananjoy came from, just missed a fatal rerun.

A senior officer of Bishnupur police station said: “The boys took pains to construct a make-shift gallows. An old lungi, which served as the hangman’s rope, was tied to the branch of a tree.”

The boys did not miss out on the details. One of them asked Aslam his “last wish”. “The boy playing Dhananjoy said he wanted to have langcha (a sweetmeat) from a shop beside the railway station. The boys brought some chocolates and a cucumber for him to eat,” said an officer.

After the “rope” was tied around Aslam’s neck, the other end was knotted to a bamboo stick and it was placed on the Y-shaped branch. But, fortunately, his feet touched the ground.

Aslam suffered injuries to his neck and throat. “We have learnt that he was in pain and his tongue had come out. The friends panicked at the sight and brought him down,” the official said. They laid him on the ground and a couple of them ran to the village to inform the elders. When they arrived, Aslam was gasping. He was taken to a rural hospital, where he was treated and discharged.

Superintendent of police Anil Kumar confirmed the attempted hanging.

Aslam’s parents, who left him in the care of a quack since the trip to the rural clinic, today took him to the subdivisional hospital and consulted a doctor.

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