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Video clip: Village court caning in Bangladesh

Village caning

With comments by C. Farrell

Bangladesh - Public caning

In addition to its formal official legal system, Bangladesh has a system of local village courts in rural areas. These are officially supported as a quick and cheap way of mediating in small disputes and punishing petty offences. There seems to be dispute as to whether it is constitutional for them to order corporal punishment, but in practice some at least of them do so (see for instance this July 2010 news item).

 In this three-minute film from 2015, we see three teenage boys being disciplined by such a court for stealing. The villagers are gathered around in an open space. In what was once British territory (East Bengal), it is not particularly surprising that strokes of the cane should feature. What is perhaps unexpected is that in this instance the punishment is being administered to the boys' hands, which is unusual for judicial CP anywhere. Some readers will think this a foolish practice, with its real danger of injury to the fingers, and one wonders why this procedure has been chosen instead of applying the cane to the much safer "place provided by Nature".


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