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What a hangman must know and what it takes to be one

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New Delhi, Dec 10: As Tihar looks for a hangman to hang the killers of Nirbhaya, a head constable from Tamil Nadu has offered himself to do the job.

Finding a hangman has always been problematic for the jail authorities. Not many jails have a hangman who is permanently on the job.

What a hangman must know and what it takes to be one

Over the years, jails have found it extremely difficult to find hangmen. In many cases, it has passed off as a family tradition and the sons have often ended up taking up the job.

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When Ajmal Kasab had to be hanged, the Yerawada jail in Pune did not have an exclusive hangman. For several years, Maharashtra had only one hangman, Jhadhav and he had retired in 1995.

The retirement age of a hangman is 58 years, but owing to the fact that it is difficult to find one, the government has on several occasions bent the rules and increased the retirement age.

A jail official explains to OneIndia that the problem is that most of them who have carried out the job becomes extremely remorseful and refuse to come back.

For several years since 2004, a hangman called Prabhat Mullick was called in for the job. He is the son of Nata Mullick who had carried out the hanging of Dhananjoy Chatterjee in 2004.

What a hangman should know:

Hanging is a delicate process and there is no scope for error. The hangman should take utmost care when it comes to preparing the noose as well as pulling the lever. He has to also ensure that the noose is not too tight around the convicts' neck as the convict is not supposed to feel the pain.

Further, there is a special way in which the noose is knotted. It is knotted depending on the weight of the convict. Also, the lever too cannot be pulled too hard as it could severe the head of the convict.

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The noose also needs to be smeared with ghee, soap and a squashed banana. This is to make the rope soft.

The other qualification for the hangman is that he should be at least 5.4 feet tall.

While this is a specialised job, not many are coming forward. One is the nature of the job and the other is with regard to the pay. For many years, a hangman was paid just Rs 200 for execution.

He is not the employee of the state government, which means he misses out on several benefits.

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