When Bombay Police Resorted to Public hanging, Lashing Of Criminals

MUMBAI :The British Bombay Police resorted to harsh punishment  like hanging and lashing ( with Chabuk ) the offenders in public as well as burning cheeks  of criminals as branding them for their identity as offenders , to curb the crime in the city .

The British rulers in Bombay used the capital punishment of hanging, condemning offenders to death and also the criminals were lashed publicly. Such measures were taken to curb crime and unlawful activities in the city .

It  is  said that in the earliest period of their rule, British rulers were empowered with martial law .Therefore they could hang the offenders or whip them. The British rulers obliged to use lashes , in case the offender was a Mughal subject .

The Lashes or the “ Chabuk “  , as it was known in local language was  also used when the offenders were poor and they were not able to pay fines imposed in certain offences .

The law and order situation, during the earliest period of British rule was discouraging , so British officers used Lashes or Chabuk on a very large scale , so that the common citizens  must fear the lashes .Thus British police and military officers tried to check the lawlessness in the city by the use  of lashes or Chabuk .

The criminals were sentenced to whipping and they were usually whipped in public .The convicts were often sentenced to the punishment of whipping as well as a term of imprisonment or branding or banishment.

The police history of Bombay in the earliest British period also narrates many instances when even Europeans were convicted and punished. Many European policemen were  convicted and sentenced as corruption and crime infested even the police force .

A European soldier Ignatio Levaria was found guilty to assault a Hindu boy with the intention to commit robbery and murder.He was punished and sentenced by Superior court .The punishment was as following:

  • He was to receive 36 lashes on 3 court days.
  • He was to be tied to gallows, with a Halter about his neck , a paper over his head ,denoting his crime .
  • Afterwards, he had to undergo and condemned to hard labor .
  • He had to be branded on his cheek as a public testimony to the infamy of his crime .Such branding was done by burn marks.



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