He retired after carrying out India's first execution in nearly a decade, but Calcutta's veteran hangman is still in the business. He is selling strands of his final noose -- rumored to have magical powers -- and finding both a ready market and revulsion. \nNata Mallick, 83, ended his career on August 14 when he hanged Dhananjoy Chatterjee, an apartment guard convicted in the rape and murder of a teenaged girl. \nHe has since cashed in on a superstition that a hangman's noose possesses occult powers that can uplift the sick and poor. For a price, Mallick sells lockets made from snippets of the noose that broke Chatterjee's neck. \n"He is pure evil," Sujato Bhadro, secretary of the anti-death penalty Association for the Protection of Democratic Rights, said of the hangman. \n"This sinful man has no right to do this in Calcutta where saints like Mother Teresa worked for hundreds who had given up hope to live," Bhadro said, referring to the Albanian-born nun who was beatified last year. \nMallick, who has hanged 25 people, shrugs off the criticism at his new-found trade. \n"It is a proven fact that a used noose has magic power and it works miracles for those having a spate of bad luck, flopped business and heavy debt," the retired executioner told reporters. He says he accepts whatever money is offered him for a noose-locket. And he has plenty to sell. \nMallick has chopped up Chatterjee's noose into miniscule pieces, ensuring there are plenty to sell. For those who don't want to splurge on the freshly used noose, old ropes are also available, Mallick said. \n"I collected all the nooses that were lying in the jail when I went there to execute Dhananjoy Chatterjee," Mallick said. \nHe said he would sell lockets from Chatterjee's noose for around 2,000 rupees (US$43). Lockets from the old ropes, which, as for the Indian prison manual, are each six meters long were 500 rupees (US$11). Mallick had a salary of 5,000 rupees (US$110) per execution, although his fee was doubled for his finale this month. \nAmong the buyers was Joyprakash Mitra, an unemployed 30-year-old whose grandfather advised him to carry a noose-locket. \n"I tried my luck with many things. Now I want to try the magic power of the noose," said Mitra, who declined to say how much he paid. \nThe hangman claims that hundreds of buyers had come to him. While the number could not be verified, Babu Roy, who owns a tea stall on the road to Mallick's ramshackle house, said the crowds had been significant. \n"My daily sales have doubled as people are stopping by my shop while going to meet Mallick," Roy said. \n"This rope locket has become a new craze," he said. "They are becoming costlier by the day." \nOthers are less amused. Ajoy Banerjee of Calcutta's revered Kalighat temple called the trade "sordid." \n"His aim is just to earn money," said Banerjee, the secretary of the temple management board, who said the Hindu clergy at Kalighat planned a campaign against the lockets. "We are worried that scores of unwed women and jobless youths are thronging the hangman's home for rope lockets," Banerjee said. \nMallick's outspoken passion for his job helped fuel criticism in the run-up to his last execution. A jail official said Mallick fell ill at the gallows and was carried away on a stretcher after the hanging. \nThe official claimed that Mallick may have had too many drinks.
Two-year-old Xu Haoyang (徐灝洋) has likely just months to live — but the only medicine that can help his rare genetic condition is not found anywhere in China and closed borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic mean that he cannot travel for treatment. Instead, his desperate father, Xu Wei (徐偉), has created a home laboratory to create a remedy for the boy himself. “I didn’t really have time to think about whether to do it or not. It had to be done,” the 30-year-old said from his DIY lab in an apartment building in southwestern Kunming. Haoyang has Menkes syndrome, a genetic disorder
BURNING, LOOTING: The demonstrators called for Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to step down over failure to deliver infrastructure, among other complaints Solomon Islands police yesterday fired tear gas in the capital, Honiara, as crowds of protesters set fire to buildings, including a police station, and looted shops in an eruption of anger at the government, Radio New Zealand (RNZ) reported. The protest was led by people from the Pacific nation’s largest island, Malaita Province, about 120km from the capital. They were demanding that Solomon Island Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare step down over failure to deliver promised infrastructure among other complaints, RNZ said. The protest began peacefully, but most schools and businesses in Honiara were closed by the afternoon as crowds tried to enter the
MOBS, TEAR GAS: Anti-government protests deteriorated and led to looting and arson, as the Pacific nation’s PM said he regretted a return to the country’s ‘dark days’ Rioters torched buildings in the Solomon Islands’ capital of Honiara yesterday, targeting the city’s Chinatown district in a second day of anti-government protests. Eyewitnesses and local media reported that crowds had defied a government lockdown to take to the streets. Live images showed several buildings engulfed in flames and plumes of thick black smoke billowing high above the capital. It followed widespread disorder on Wednesday, when demonstrators attempted to storm parliament and depose Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare. Businesses operated by Honiara’s Chinese community were looted and burned, prompting Beijing’s embassy to express “serious concerns” to the Solomons’ government. The embassy “made representations
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