May 16, 2021 5:53:52 am
Gangster Mukeem Kala, who was shot dead by a fellow gangster inside his barrack at Chitrakoot jail on Friday, ran his writ by fear in Kairana town and other places and was one of the main reasons behind the exodus local businessmen and families facing extortion threats.
Three trader families of Shamli had shifted to neighbouring Muzaffarnagar district after Kala and his gang members allegedly killed businessman Rajender Kumar Garg (43) and his cousin Shiv Kumar Singhal (45), who jointly ran an iron goods shop at Kairana, in 2014, for not meeting his extortion demand of Rs 10 lakh.
The families said they left Shamli after locking up their houses and shops, fearing attacks by the gangster and his henchmen.
“Even after shifting to Muzaffarnagar, the gangster and his aides continued to threaten us regularly over phone, warning us against deposing in court. Fearing an attack, I did not lodge a complaint with the police. I have also not appeared in any court, till date, to record my statement,” said Mukesh Kumar, brother of the slain trader, who also left Shamli for Muzaffarnagar.
He added that while there’s some relief now that Kala is dead, several of his gang members are still alive and lodged in different jails across the state.
“It is not safe for us yet to return to Shamli as his associates might target us after being released from jail. This government has made an effort to enforce law and order but I still won’t return to Shamli,” Mukesh said, adding he visits Kairana regularly to check if his locked-up house and shop are still standing.
Mukesh, who has a wife and two children, runs a machine parts shop in Muzaffarnagar. Rajender’s wife Rekha Garg is staying with her two children in Muzaffarnagar and does stitching work for a living. Shiv Kumar’s widow Anu Singhal is also engaged in the same work at her new home while taking care of her three children. She had also locked up her Shamli residence before shifting out with her children.
“We all are planning to sell our properties in Shamli soon,” Mukesh said.
In 2017, Shamli district administration had conducted an inquiry after former BJP MP Hukum Singh (now dead) released a list of 346 Hindu families claiming they had been forced to migrate from Kairana following “threats and extortion by criminal elements belonging to a particular community and lack of security”.
The administration, on investigation, found that only three persons named in the list released by Singh had left Kairana after facing extortion threats. Most of the others were found to be either “still living there” or to have moved out years ago for “better employment opportunities” or reasons related to “business, healthcare and children’s education”.
The three families were of Rajendra Kumar, Shiv Kumar and Manoj Kumar.
Rajander’s family members said Kala and his henchmen made regular extortion calls to him, demanding Rs 10 lakh. On August 24, 2014, four youths on two motorcycles killed Rajender and Shiv Kumar while they were sitting at their shop. Mahesh Chand, Shiv Kumar’s father, got an FIR filed against unidentified persons at Kairana police station. Police later booked nine persons, including Kala, in connection with the case and filed the charge sheet in December, that year.
Premveer Singh Rana, station house officer, Kairana police station, said charges were framed against Kala and others in March, this year. However, the trial is yet to begin. An inter-state gangster, Kala had 61 cases against him.
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