Uttar Pradesh Police has a new task in hand in the restless Yamuna-Chambal ravines – a new generation of dacoits – all rearing to follow the footsteps of now eliminated dreaded bandits Nirbahya Gujjar,Dadua and Thokia who made the area a hotbed of terror.
“A number of gangs have surfaced in the ravines in the last two years especially after elimination of Nirbhay,Dadua and Jagjeevan. Majority of the gangs active in the ravines are smaller in size with limited manpower,but all of them have a common sole objective – to emerge as the leader of the ravines,” a senior UP police officer said.
As many as 36 big and small gangs are active in the ravines.
“The gangs are listed in different categories depending on the area of their operation. If a gang operates in less than three districts,it is listed in category D. Similarly,an inter-state gang like that of Thokia was listed in A category,” Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Brij Lal said.
One such gang which is giving sleepless nights to the UP as well as Madhya Pradesh police is led by Deepak Patel,brother of slain brigand,Ambika Patel,who was gunned down by the Special Task Force of the state.
To revenge Thokia’s killing,the Patel gang eliminated the informer,who provided important lead to the STF,eventually leading to the killing of the brigand,who unleashed the rein of terror in the two states,for nearly a decade.
“Recently,there were reports of split in the gang. Raising a flag of rebellion,Sunder Patel aka Rajgir,once a close lieutenant of Thokia has started his own gang,” Lal said,adding now the bandits were fighting against each other for supremacy,in a bid to take over the legacy of Thokia.
Like Deepak Patel,slain brigand Jagjevan Parihar’s kin Buddha Singh is also trying desperately to take over the blood-stained legacy of his uncle and mint money.
Buddha Singh,who started with kidnapping has now switched to extracting protection money from residents of Auraiya and Etawah. He was earlier in the news after he openly warned residents of a village in Aurraiya district against deposing against his gang members detained in jails.
Another gang which has been in the news is that of Ashwini Kumar from Etawah.
“It was only after the gang abducted a couple of people from Etawah,that the police came to know about its existence. Till then it was not among the listed gangs of Chambal,” said Lal.
Though Yadav had surrendered recently,and is currently behind the bars,sources claimed that he was still operating his gang from the jail.
In view of the new gangs,fresh drive has been launched jointly by the UP and Madhya Pradesh police either to flush out or arrest the bandits active in the ravines.
“While a combing operation has been launched,the UP government has increased reward on the head of prominent brigands,” he added.
The government recently increased the reward on Deepak Patel’s head from Rs 20,000 to Rs 50,000.
“Other than Deepak gang,reward of Rs 50,000 had been announced of four more gangs,” he said,adding that reward on nearly a dozen gang members were increased from Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000.