Hangman to be hanged; search for better name
The name of the hangman’s post is to be changed to a more humane one to encourage applicants for the job, Prisons Department spokesman Thushara Upuldeniya said yesterday. He said they would seek advice from language experts to get a more respectable name for those operating the gallows. This move comes after four persons who were recruited as hangmen quit without notice weeks after taking up the job.
“We believe that the word hangman or in Sinhala Wadakaya sounds crude and brutal. The people do not like to be labelled with it. The new name, though being more respectful, should reflect the type of the job also,” he said. The spokesman said an increase in pay would also be considered as an added attraction. The monthly salary for a hangman at present is Rs. 15,000 a month with a few perks.
Another senior official said the latest recruit quit without notice after he was shown the gallows and told the job he would be called upon to perform if capital punishment was implemented. “The man was jittery and refused to continue in the job saying it was sad and uncomfortable to put another person to death whatever the reason,” he said.
He rejected rumours that relatives or friends of those on the death row may have threatened the hangman hopefuls forcing them to have a re-think on their jobs.
At present there are 410 people on death row and most of them are at the central jail in Welikada.