1868: Thomas Wells, the first private hanging in England 1986: The Stoning of Soraya M

2004: Dhananjoy Chatterjee, the last hanged in India … for now

August 14th, 2009 Headsman

On this date in 2004, Dhananjoy Chatterjee hanged at Calcutta’s Alipore Central Jail for the 1990 rape-murder of 14-year-old Hetal Parekh.

Chatterjee’s hanging also brought into the limelight the garrulous, publicity-hounding 84-year-old executioner Nata Mallick, who conducted the hanging with his son and grandson and told anyone with a microphone stories of the hangman’s glory days.

Those days are long past on the subcontinent.

Among death penalty countries, India is the anti-Singapore: despite its billion-plus population, death sentences are vanishingly rare. Chatterjee is not only the most recent person hanged in India as of this writing, but the only one hanged there since 1995.

One actual hanging in fourteen years for a billion-person country? The only lower execution rate would be actual abolition.

Chatterjee may be relieved of his milestone distinctions in the not-too-distant future, however. (Where “not-too-distant” by the standards of the Indian death penalty might still mean years away.)

Mohammad Afzal, condemned for the 2001 terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament, has become a political lightning rod; India’s conservative Hindu party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has made political hay pushing for Afzal’s execution.

Update: A different Pakistani terrorist, Ajmal Kasab, became the next hanged after Chatterjee in 2012. Afzal Guru got his in February 2013.

Also on this date

Entry Filed under: 21st Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Hanged,India,Milestones,Murder,Rape,Ripped from the Headlines

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10 Responses to “2004: Dhananjoy Chatterjee, the last hanged in India … for now”

  1. 1
    Steve Says:

    Weren’t the people that perpetrated the shootings in Mumbai last year sentenced to hang?

  2. 2
    ExecutedToday.com » 10 executions that defined the 2000s Says:

    [...] 10. Dhananjoy Chatterjee, 2004 [...]

  3. 3
    Jayaram Says:


  4. 4
    ExecutedToday.com » Executed Today’s Third Annual Report: Third Time Lucky Says:

    [...] 37. May 10, 1994: John Wayne Gacy – Democratic machine operative, amateur harlequin, serial killer 38. Aug. 14, 2004: Dhananjoy Chatterjee – The only person hanged in India in the past generation … though he doesn’t seem [...]

  5. 5
    Aniyan Kunju P V Says:

    Dhanjoy chattarjee has no political background and there is no any community activicst came for support, So, his excution was took place.We are not to forget that, Mazod azzar to whom we released on khandhar. All the hanging let go on pending but why it for Afzal Guru and Kasab .
    Our democrasy can answer it ?

  6. 6
    ExecutedToday.com » Executed Today’s Fifth Annual Report: Hang Five Says:

    [...] 38. Robert Francois Damiens (March 28, 1757) 39. The Belsen war criminals (December 13, 1945) 40. Dhananjoy Chatterjee (August 14, 2004) 41. Maximilien Robespierre (July 28, 1794) 42. The Stoning of Soraya M. (August [...]

  7. 7
    ExecutedToday.com » 2012: Ajmal Kasab, 26/11 terrorist Says:

    [...] first man executed in India since 2004, Ajmal Kasab was captured alive after the deadly November 26, 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. The [...]

  8. 8
    ExecutedToday.com » 2012: Ajmal Kasab, 26/11 Mumbai terrorist Says:

    [...] been a recipe for virtual death penalty abolition: the last hanging prior to Kasab’s was in 2004, and the last one before that was in 1995. This is in a country with one-sixth of the world’s [...]

  9. 9
    ExecutedToday.com » 2013: Afzal Guru, India parliament attack terrorist Says:

    [...] at the time, actual executions were an extreme rarity in [...]

  10. 10
    ExecutedToday.com » 1996: Ravji Rao aka Ramchandra, on questionable jurisprudence Says:

    [...] was among India’s last hangings prior to the near-moratorium in India in the first years of the 21st [...]

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