Kolkata, August 14 (NNN): Dhananjoy Chatterjee, 39, sentenced to death for raping and murdering a 14-year-old girl in Kolkata in 1990, was hanged at dawn at the Alipore Central Jail in Kolkata where he had spent the last 13 years in solitary confinement.
It was the country's first execution since 1995.
''The execution of Dhananjoy's death sentence has duly been carried out at the scheduled time (4:30 am). His body has been handed over to Hindu Satkar Samity for cremation as no near relation turned up for taking his body,'' Inspector General of Police (Prisons) Joydev Chakraborty told reporters.
Dhananjoy's family did not collect his body for cremation. None of the family members even attended the execution.
A convoy of police vehicles escorted the ambulance carrying his body to the crematorium, where the Hindu Satkar Samity, a local social welfare organisation had arranged for the last rites.
As per the execution procedure, the body was kept hanging for 30 minutes, before the doctors formally declared Dhananjoy dead.
As per his last wish, Dhananjoy was offered sweets and curd. He was also given a new shirt and pyjamas, which he wore to the gallows.
''Dhananjoy behaved normally. He took a bath by himself inside the cell, offered prayers and walked to the gallows without any help,'' Chakraborty said.
The IGP said Dhananjoy's wish to donate his eyes could not be fulfilled because his family's consent was not received.
Dhananjoy had asked for his kidneys and eyes to be donated after his death.
Dhananjoy, who wrote three letters -- one each to his father, wife and two former jailmates -- was handed over one from his wife, Poornima, before his execution.
Dhananjoy was sentenced to death for raping and murdering Hetal Parekh in her house in Bhowanipore on March 5, 1990.
Human rights organisation Manab Adhikar Surakha Manch and some students of the Bishop's College held a vigil outside the Alipore jail, where the execution took place.
At Dhananjoy's home in village Kuludihi, his family threw stones at jounrnalists trying to speak to them.
It rained heavily in the village all night.
The family heard about Dhananjoy's execution at 6 am on a little transistor radio. Immediately, loud wails were heard from the house.
As per sources Dhananjoy went calmly to the gallows on his birthday with a copy of Bhagavad Gita, one of Hinduism's most sacred texts.
According to prison guards Dhananjoy spent a sleepless night before the execution, and refused food.
In the days leading up to the execution Dhananjoy listened to Hindu devotional songs in his solitary cell, they said.
Demonstrators lit candles, held anti-death penalty banners and sang songs outside the prison but left at the scheduled hour of the execution.
"120 countries abolished death penalty. Why not India?" said a banner. "Abolish death penalty!" said another.
Some protesters sang folk star Pete Seeger's We Shall Overcome during their night-long vigil outside the jail. Human rights activist Sujato Bhadra told the BBC they would begin a "door to door campaign" to abolish death penalty.
President APJ Abdul Kalam rejected a plea for clemency last week and the Supreme Court rejected another appeal on Thursday.
A large police team has been deployed in Dhananjoy's village, where his family had threatened to commit mass suicide if he was executed.
Dhananjoy's lawyers had argued his conviction was based on circumstantial evidence and that DNA testing was not carried out. Most people in West Bengal support the death penalty in this case.
However, some human rights groups said a life sentence would have been a more appropriate punishment.
The death penalty is rarely carried out in India. It is usually reserved for particularly gruesome or politically sensitive cases.
The assassins of country's independence leader, Mahatma Gandhi, and former prime minister, Indira Gandhi, were among those executed in the past 50 years.