Khemchand (45), a machine operator at a factory and a father of two girls and a boy, left for work early in the morning. The journey from Palwal to Ballabhgarh involves a train ride, and it was near the station that he was allegedly confronted by Naresh Dhankar and beaten to death.
Apart from the sorrow of losing a loved one, the families of all victims are yet to come to terms with the sheer arbitrariness of the crime. “His family was trying to contact him shortly after he left. A policeman answered and told them he had been killed,” said Satish, one of the relatives who was at Government Hospital in Palwal to collect the body.
Before he found Khemchand, Dhankar had already bloodied the murder weapon by killing four others, police said. Among them was Munshiram (37), a resident of Alawalpur in Palwal, who worked night shifts as a security guard at a battery shop. His son Mukesh, who has four sisters, said Munshiram looked after them. “All of them are dependent on me now,” he said.
After Munshiram, Dhankar allegedly killed another guard, 50-year-old Sitaram, who was on duty near Rasulpur road.
Sources said CCTV footage purportedly shows Sitaram warming his hands by a fire on the roadside, before Dhankar approaches him from the front starts beating him. “A worker at the godown my father guarded informed us… he did not deserve to die like this,” said his son Raj Kumar, who has five siblings.
During the murder spree, Dhankar also allegedly killed a third security guard, Subhash (42), who hailed from Sikohabad in UP, and an unidentified vagabond who appears to be in his 50s and was sleeping on the pavement.
The first victim, Anjum, was the only one to be killed inside an enclosed space — the Palwal Hospital. She was sleeping on a bench on the first floor, outside the ICU where her relative is admitted, when she was attacked. Dhankar allegedly walked up to the first floor without being confronted, and found Anjum sleeping with a sheet over her head. He lifted it and allegedly beat her to death.