A series of at least six mysterious crude bomb blasts in different areas of UP’s Prayagraj over the past three months is the result of an alleged turf war between two gangs of students from reputed schools in the city, a senior police officer in the district told The Indian Express.
The students, mostly minor boys aged between 15 and 17 “from well-off families”, were allegedly engaged in “criminal activities” over the past year for two gangs called Immortals and Tandav, the officer said. The police cracked the case with the help of surveillance and CCTV footage, he said.
“Eleven of these students were caught on Tuesday. They have confessed to their involvement in six cases in the past three months. In all the six incidents, the students were involved in physical assault and hurling bombs at their opponents before escaping from the spot on two-wheelers. They covered their faces with scarves during the crime,” said a senior police officer.
According to the district police, initial investigations have revealed that the gang members allegedly extorted money from other students and also made money by sharing passwords of online games similar to PUBG.
“Sometimes, the students organised events to raise money. They used to meet after school and were in touch with each other through social media,” another officer said.
The police claimed to have recovered two crude bombs, two motorcycles and 10 cellphones from the possession of those who have been nabbed.
“Of the 11 caught, 10 minors were produced before the Juvenile Justice Board, which sent them to a juvenile home. The eleventh accused is 18 years old and had passed intermediate recently. He was produced before a local court, which sent him to jail,” the officer said.
According to the police, they initially suspected the involvement of criminal gangs in the series of bomb attacks. “It took us around two months to crack the case. During the probe, we learnt that these 11 students were members of two groups — Immortals and its rival Tandav. Immortals has around 40 members while Tandav has 100. There are other student groups active in the district called Jaguar, Maya and Lawrence. These student groups attack each other to claim supremacy. But it cannot be ruled out they may be involved in other criminal activities as well,” said the senior officer.
The district police now suspect that around 200 students of four-five schools and colleges are currently members of such gangs.
“Prime facie, the probe shows that these students hurl bombs at their opponents outside school to create terror. During the attack, one member prepares a video of the bombs being hurled. The video is shared on social media with other members. Sometimes, they share clips with other students to influence them,” said the officer.